Each year, more and more people in the United States turn to charitable thrift stores for their clothing needs. In fact, it is estimated that these Americans are buying about ten pounds of used clothing a year–and that’s quite a few outfits.
Furthermore, in 2011, used clothing and textiles were recovered at a rate of around 15.3%. What this means is that these materials were either reused or recycled. Rather than being thrown away, it is estimated that two million tons of clothing and textiles were donated to charities which were able to sell them at their thrift stores.
Not only does donating clothes and other wearable items benefit individuals such as veterans, the blind, and others in need, there is also a sense of pride that arises when being of service. When people give back to the community by donating clothing to charitable organizations, they are also contributing to the environment by keeping them out of landfills.
Americans are making a more concerted effort to recycle. In 2012, for example, almost 87 million tons of material was recycled and composted. Since 12 million tons of clothing and textiles are thrown out on an annual basis, this does make a substantial difference in what ends up in America’s landfills.
When donating clothing to charity, charitable organizations receive funding in order to keep their doors open and be of benefit to others. It is estimated that 80% of the clothing which is donated accomplishes this purpose. In just 2007 alone, charitable foundations received approximately $5.8 billion dollars in clothing-related donations.
Donating clothing to charity assists United States’ veterans, many of whom experience a higher-than-average unemployment rate. A March 2013 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ report indicated that approximately 207,000 recently-returned veterans were unable to find a job.
Helping military families with clothing donations can make a substantial difference. Recent findings show that when compared with non-veterans, the unemployment rate for veterans is now 2% above the national average. While this is less than In 2012, when veterans between the ages of 18-to-24 years were experiencing a 20.4% unemployment rate, it demonstrates that there is a clear need to close that gap.