Where does it go?

alec clothing pie chart

I came across and article by Fodor’s Travel that really disturbed me. It is titled How Fast Fashion Is Ruining Chile’s Atacama Desert. The first sentence reads as such: “Not sure where you placed that $20 H&M shirt? Chances are it’s discarded in this Chilean desert.”

If that doesn’t rock your ethical responsibility and shake you up a bit, I’d be surprised.

The fact that we are just discarding our clothes into the garbage is embarrassing. We NEED to educate our children, and quite frankly, ourselves, and DO BETTER.

Truth is, we can turn a lot of the discarded clothing into rags, pass on to those who don’t have the means, t-shirt comforter, shirt pillowcase, baby sleeping bag out of a pillowcase, etc. The point is, you can absolutely upcycle and keep clothing out of the landfill as long as possible.

Although fast fashion is the most common perpetrator, other high-end brands are equally guilty. Some high-nd seasons from Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss, and Chanel lay among the discarded clothing. The fast-fashion industry, driven by fleeting trends and cheap production, has turned this otherworldly landscape into its industry’s dumping ground.

“When you take your old clothes to the thrift store, they may not actually end up on the rack — but perhaps they’ll continue their lives as garments halfway across the world, or find their way into a couch cushion. Secondhand clothes that don’t sell in the US or go into textile recycling are often exported. Roughly 700,000 tons of used clothing gets sent to other countries annually, reportedly creating a big market and contributing to job growth.”

GreenAmerica Cites “Many people donate their worn clothing to a local charity shop. One popular charity shop chain is Goodwill, which reports that it offers many opportunities for the clothes to be resold, although roughly five percent of donated clothes are directly sent to landfills, largely due to mildew issues, which can contaminate entire bales of clothing. The rest remain in the 3,200 stores for four weeks before being moved to Goodwill outlets, found in 35 states, where items are sold for 99 cents per pound. What doesn’t sell at the outlets is then sent to Goodwill Auctions, where huge “mystery” bins full of items are sold for as little as $35 each. Finally, what clothing remains gets sent to textile recycling centers where they will be cut into rags, processed into softer fiber used for filling furniture and building insulation, or sent overseas.”


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