How many times have you gone to your closet to put on an outfit and declared “I have nothing to wear” as you stare at hanger after hanger of shirts, skirts, dresses and a myriad other clothing items? Chances are, if you are like most Americans, you have probably felt this way at some point. For many this usually results in a closet clear out and a shopping spree to replenish all that has been thrown or given away. Before you just bin it, though, consider what your old clothing could join terms of helping disabled veterans.
It may seem inconceivable, but wounded veterans charities are helping disabled veterans by selling donated clothing to fund their programs. These programs cover everything from health to education and need the support from donors to continue. Given that as a nation, we dump more than 10.5 million tons of clothing into landfills annually, the option to donate these wasted items should be embraced not only for the sake of the veterans in need, but also for the environment. As much as 2.5 billion pounds of material fabric was kept out of landfills by second hand clothing purchases in 2006. Only about 15% of our used clothing is donated or recycled, meaning that most of it ends up polluting the environment. Imagine the impact if that figure could be doubled or even tripled.
Per person, we throw away on average almost 70 pounds of textiles, clothing and linens annually. We are buying more, too, also double what our parents did 20 years ago. About 5% of all municipal waste is textiles. Organisations like GreenDrop work with charities like the The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) to transform used clothing into useful programs for helping disabled veterans and in the process, reduce how much textiles are sent to the landfill every year.
There are two good reasons to donate clothes, then: helping disabled veterans and cleaning up the environment. The Purple Heart donation pick up means that you do not even have to drive to the charity to donate, but can call them up and have them collect direct from your home, making donating even easier. So the next time you look at your closet and think you need a big clear out, think about the value of charitable donations and rather than bin the things you don’t want, donate them.