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Consumerism filling our trash with unwanted clothing

(BUSINESS NEWS) Americans throw out a ridiculous amount of clothing each year that negatively contributes to municipal waste. Next time you clean your closet, try and do good.

Out with the old…

It seems as though at some point during each year, everyone I know gets the immediate urge to purge. Often it takes place right after New Years, when people want to be out with the old and in with the new.

For me, it usually happens some random day around midnight when I simply can no longer stand the way my closet looks. Suddenly, every item of clothing I own is in the middle of my room as I’m attempting to organize, fold, and hang each piece.

In with the new

And, each year, I always wind up with a garbage bag or two full of stuff that I no longer use. Whether it doesn’t fit anymore or I’m just bored with it, only the basic staples ever seem to last very long.

Apparently, I am not the only one with this issue.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person each year.

This is a growing issue

This amount represents 6.3 percent of the municipal waste in major cities. Like many other environmental issues, this number continues to grow each year.

But why throw your clothes in the trash? Convenience is the big motivator there. However, just because you got your use out of the clothes does not mean they are completely unusable. Consumerism is waxing and waning in America, and we’ve all seen the documentaries on the trash island and increased carbon footprints. We need to be more conscious of our impact on the planet, especially when it comes to our personal contributions to waste.

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Bad for Mother Earth

Just like plastics and aluminum, clothing and textile waste pose a threat of damage to the earth. If that’s not enough of an incentive, simply think about the abundance of people who may be in need of used clothing like yours.

For example, families affected by the unfortunate circumstances of the Hurricane Matthew tragedy may be in need of used clothing. Here’s how you can help.

There are no shortages of routes you can take in recycling your unwanted clothing items. With options like Goodwill, clothing drives for shelters, and other needs in your community, wouldn’t it be great to give back?

In addition to charities around your community, your clothing donations can be beneficial worldwide.

Give back this year

We are approaching on yet another holiday season, which makes me encourage all of you to donate a little something to a charity in need of your unwanted items. I understand life gets busy, and convenience is such an alluring thing; but just think about the people you could be helping by simply driving a few blocks to a local shelter or community charity organization.

You may not receive a tangible thank you, but these efforts are appreciated. And, the environment will thank you as well.

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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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