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What’s the big deal about clothing waste?

November 17, 2011

Students at the university are provided with recycling canisters for plastic, cans and paper, but what about clothing?

According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) the average American tosses 68 pounds of clothing in the trash each year. Instead of tossing old clothes in the garbage, the NRDC advocates that people resell, swap, donate or recycle their old clothing. By giving clothing a second life, Americans can cut down on textile waste, which accounts for 4% of solid waste in the United States.

About 99 percent of clothing that is thrown away can be recycled, according to The Green Guide offered by National Geographic. Recycling clothing reduces the environmental impact of clothing production. For example, recycling clothing would reduce the need for resources such as petroleum and water that are used in clothing production. Fewer pesticides would be needed to grow cotton. Further, the amount of greenhouse gases and pollutants emitted from clothing manufacturers would be reduced.

Recycled clothing can be used in a number of ways. According to The Green Guide, clothing that makes its way to a textile recycler is used to make rags, new clothing, insulation and stuffing for upholstery. Clothing that is donated to charities and consignment shops not only gets a second life, but it also creates jobs at the charity organizations and shops.

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