Give Old Tired Boring Clothing New Life & Get Karma Points by Tossing Clothes into a Planet Aid Bins!
With spring about here and summer not long after, Angelenos ( and people across the country) are out admiring the hottest new styles and trends they saw during Fashion Week that are just hitting stores, then returning home to their own closets and shamefully thinking to themselves: “These clothes have got to go.”
Before you start shopping-STOP!! Clean out that closet first! As “the people’s stylist” Barbra Horowitz says- that if you can’t recycle it into something you would wear, then recycle it out of your closet. No trash cans here!!
According to recent statistics, the average American throws away 70 lbs. of clothing every year, sending a total of 11.1 million tons of textiles straight to the landfill! That’s about 191 t-shirts or 1,146 miles of yarn—per American every year!
Dumping clothes into the trash has both economic and environmental repercussions:
• Economic: The average charge for landfill dumping is $100 per ton. Keeping 11 million tons of textile waste out of the landfills would save American taxpayers more than $1.1 billion every year.
• Environmental: When your old clothes get buried in a landfill, they can contaminate soil and groundwater, take up valuable land, and emit some horrific odors. The odors are from things that are not biodegradable which includes nylon, rayon, polyester; wool and cotton — and other natural fabrics will degrade but the dyes used on clothing may contaminate the soil. Or they go to the landfill’s giant incinerator, which spews out greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Here’s the real kicker:
over 90% of discarded textiles sitting in landfills is perfectly recyclable!
Here’s the operative question: “Why aren’t Americans recycling more of their old clothes?”
Are people unwilling to make the trek to thrift stores to donate? Is it the lack of convenience or maybe they don’t realize that there are recyclers willing to accept those dirty old clothes!
A possible solution to both of these concerns can be found in those yellow boxes popping up all over Los Angeles.
Planet Aid is a nonprofit organization that collects good, bad, and “downright ugly” used clothing. Planet Aid has partnered with Los Angeles Fire Department to place its yellow donation boxes at firehouses across LA. By accepting any and all clothing donations, Planet Aid is chipping away at textile waste, one dirty sneaker at a time!
Planet Aid’s Mission Statement “Reincarnating” Your Clothing for a Triple Play
Posted on Planetaid.org on December 21, 2011
When you donate a used shirt you set many possibilities in motion. Your shirt can be “reincarnated” as someone’s new prized possession or return to life as the insulation in your walls, padding under your carpet, paper for your printer, stuffing for your couch, or even as a new shirt. Recycling truly has multiple benefits. The synergy of the Planet Aid recycling model expands these possibilities, creating a unique “win-win-win” scenario. Here’s how the “triple win” works.
By donating a shirt, you remove it from going straight to what is known as the “solid waste stream.” This is the universal dumping ground for items we don’t recycle. Our solid waste usually winds up in one of two places. It gets buried in a landfill, which can contaminate soil and groundwater, consume valuable land, and emit some horrific odors.
Alternatively, your old clothes are torched in a huge incinerator that gives off microscopic particles that we breathe, and spews out clouds of greenhouse gases that heat and clog the atmosphere.
Neither option is good for us or our planet. By recycling, two good things happen. We eliminate the need to produce a new item, and we remove an item from going to the solid waste stream. Win # 1 is thus all about protecting the environment and reducing the wear and tear on Mother Earth.
Clothes = jobs = income
Planet Aid–like all other clothes collection charities– sells the used clothing it collects. That is simply how it’s done. Only a fraction (about 20 percent) of all donated clothing in the U.S. is actually sold in thrift stores. The rest is sold to wholesale recyclers. These recyclers either grade and sort the clothes first, or ship them “as is” overseas. Lower grade clothes are made into other materials at processing plants that employ thousands around the world. The best garments may wind up in high-end boutiques or vintage shops. Used clothing shipments are routed all over the globe, but mainly to lesser-developed countries.
After shipping, a half-ton bale of used clothing may change hands multiple times being sold and re-bought and parceled out into smaller bundles. A 100-pound bale, for example, might be bought by a single mother in Guatemala. In a small stall in the market of her village, she resells your donated clothes. A shirt or pair of jeans you bought new for $40 might sell for a few cents or a couple of dollars. The single mom makes a small profit to buy other necessities like food or medicine.
This is where the “reincarnation” of your donated clothes happens again. Something that was considered of little value when donated, now has recaptured worth and a new life.
This is Win #2 – used clothes provide an income or a job opportunity for the people who handle what you put in a Planet Aid bin. This same scenario is repeated hundreds of thousands of times every day around the world. The sale and resale of used clothing has created a complex commercial network that benefits many thousands of enterprises, large and small.
Your donations spread over three continents
Win #3 occurs when Planet Aid uses the funds from clothing sales to pay for aid programs. Dollars raised from your donation may help train much-needed primary school teachers in Angola, where student to teacher ratios may be as high as 70 to 1. Support may go to an Academy for Working Children in India. These are schools specifically for young children who have little choice but to work to help support their families. Child Aid development programs receive Planet Aid support to establish clean water supplies and to improve hygiene and reduce water-related infections.
Planet Aid also supports several successful programs that aid smallholder farmers in developing nations—many of whom are women—so they can improve their harvests, conserve water resources, and increase their income.
Other Planet Aid–supported programs help control the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases.
The simple act of donating
Last year alone, Planet Aid provided $12 million in funding or in-kind gifts (from the sale of used clothes and grant support) to international aid programs in 15 countries. Since Planet Aid started in 1997, it has contributed over $70 million to projects on three continents.
This happened because people like you decided to donate your used clothing rather than throw it away. One simple act results in multiple benefits for many all over the world. Be an active recycler and frequent clothes donor. Be a champion of the “win-win-win” global recycling model.
It’s a Big Job and We All Have to Do It
When Planet Aid and other charities sell the donated clothes they collect, they receive only a few hundred dollars per ton. In short, it takes a lot of used clothing to raise just a little money. However, there is no shortage of used garments in the U.S. Several billion pounds of unwanted textiles are produced annually, but only 15 percent of this vast quantity is recycled. Much more effort is needed to save more textiles from unnecessary disposal. Clearly, we must work harder to make it easier to recycle.
FOR MORE PLANET AID-RELEASED INFORMATION AND TO FIND A BIN NEAR YOU, VISIT www.PlanetAid.org
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