When the Time Comes to Donate Old Clothes

It may not come as a surprise to hear that the textiles industry is one of the biggest in the entire world, and it is more robust and popular than ever. After all, everyone needs clothes to wear, may they be everyday clothing, military or work uniforms, formal wear, or anything else. The United States in particular is both an enormous market for such textiles and a producer alike, and modern Americans are consuming twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago. Some American citizens choose to make clothes donations to charity, and used clothing donations may be made to Red Cross and similar organizations. Taking old clothes to a Red Cross donation center is a fine way to provide for needy families, but in fact not all clothes are reused like this. Many Americans choose to donate clothes to Red Cross, but more could do so as well. When is it time to donate clothes to Red Cross? And what are current statistics of the textile industry in the United States?

Clothing Donations VS Waste

The bad news is that not all old clothes are recycled or donated, and not everyone chooses to donate clothes to Red Cross. In fact, the textiles industry is known for having one of the lowest recycling and reclamation rates out of all industries that have recyclable material, and in most years, only 15% of old clothes are donated. If someone is not choosing to donate clothes to Red Cross, they might instead throw away their clothing, and all of this adds up fast. The average American discards nearly 70 pounds of textiles per year, may it be clothes and accessories, tablecloths, or bed sheets and blankets. This means that millions of pounds of old clothes are sent to landfills, taking up room and going to total waste. Some clothes are recycled and shredded to make industrial rags or furniture stuffing, but others would argue that to donate clothes to Red Cross is the best option.

The good news in all this is that Americans do indeed have a robust charitable spirit, and they donate many old clothes, household items, and even kids’ toys to charities across the nation. Nearly 70% of Americans take part in charity every year in some capacity or other, and this may certainly include clothing. Many millions of old garments are taken to donations pickup sites, where volunteers gather these clothes and arrange to have them given to families in need. In fact, about 14.3 million tons of donated American textiles have been sent to needy families around the world, from Latin America to African nations to southern Asian communities. This means that driving up clothing donation rates may simply be a matter of stoking the existing American charitable spirit and pushing it to new heights, especially in the face of such low reclamation rates for the textiles industry. A lot of old clothes are given away for the needy, but this rate could certainly improve, too. How might a household decide when they should donate clothes to Red Cross?

Making the Donation

Charity sites such as Red Cross are open every day of the year, and they always welcome charitable Americans who arrive with donations in hand. To begin, a household’s members may all gather up the clothing that they own from across the home, and assemble it into a single large pile. This creates a convenient and comprehensive inventory of what everyone owns, and some people may be surprised by how large this pile ends up being. A scattered wardrobe may be difficult to track, after all, and everything from shirts and pants to coats, dresses, shoes, gloves, and scarves may be involved.

The family members may then sort through all these clothes and carefully decide what they really want to keep, versus what they would rather give away. Clothes to be donated may be out of fashion, worn out, or redundant, and they can be packed into boxes or bags for convenient transport. Leftover clothes can be put back away, and clothes to be donated can be taken to a local Red Cross pickup site. Donors may even receive a tax rebate form based on the total value of the donations.

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