The textiles industry is a trillion dollar market, and as you’d expect with such a large business sector, there is an enormous amount of waste. From high fashion runways to affordable clothing retailers, the styles change every season and much of the stock is simply discarded.
People buy clothes throughout the year, most often at the start of a new season. Often, old clothes are left to gather dust at the back of wardrobes or are chucked into boxes and shifted to the top of cupboards. Clothes that are worn through and have holes are often tossed out with the trash, but the garments that are in good nick should be recycled for a number of reasons.
The clothing industry’s toll on the planet
It is estimated that one t-shirt requires around 2700 litres of water to produce, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Added to this, most of our discarded clothes end up in landfills rather than being recycled or repurposed.
Almost two-thirds of textiles can be reused for wearable clothing, one third can be recycled into blankets, mattresses and synthetic fibres, leaving only a minute percentage of textiles that are unusable once discarded.
What to do with old clothes
The Global Recycling Day organisation is pushing for alternative ways to get rid of old clothes. A simple Google search for charities in your area will show you a map of where you can drop off unwanted clothing. Or, you could sell them to a thrift shop and make a few bucks in the process.
If you’re still unsure, take your old clothes to your local recycling facility, or drop them off with someone in need of warm clothes.
The months following Christmas see the highest volume of clothing being thrown out. Rather than letting your clothes sit in your wardrobe, do a spring clean and put your old garments in black bin bags and label them for sale, donation or for dumping at the recycling centre.
Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment.
By pairing international expertise with local insights, we have secured our position as one of South Africa’s most respected providers of waste management and industrial cleaning services. We also operate in the recycling, infrastructure inspection, hydro-demolition, high-pressure water jetting and catalyst handling industries.
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