All the convenience of modern shopping allows today’s consumers to purchase new beautiful clothing in quantities this world has never seen before, and the obvious result is closeting bursting at the seams full of clothing that is unwanted. It is no joke to say that a good portion of the clothing in any given wardrobe will never see any use and simply takes up space as a constant reminder that impulse buys and ill-fitting clothes are a waste of space, time and money.
So, how does the acquisitive consumer deal with their mounds of unwanted clothing? Charity! Most people who find themselves with a large number of unwanted belongings, especially clothing, will then think of those less fortunate and bestow their generous donations upon the world in need. This way a good set of clothes can be used again and again and this is an economical solution.
But, is this actually making the world a better place, or rather a justification for not making intelligent consumer decisions and taking care of good clothing. Obviously, it is far better to repurpose your undesirable clothing than have them end up in a local landfill where their toxic components will begin to deteriorate the natural environment. But, donations to charity organizations don’t necessarily ensure that this harmful environmental impact is avoided.
The Problem with Clothing Donations
Clothing donations are made for all the best reasons and hope to get as much service life from each piece of clothing. Textiles today employ the use of plastics on a massive scale and old clothing that is burned or buried is a primary contributor to the microplastics that are destroying the oceans and harming marine life.
One way to postpone the inevitable is to ensure that clothes are used to their full-service life before they are discarded. One way to do this is to take your unwanted clothes to charity organizations that will ensure these clothes are reused, recycled or repurposed. Doing a little research into the organization will let you know which option is best for you. You may also consider taking your clothes to local shelters and organizations for the less fortunate.
How to Donate Clothing Responsibly
Passing clothes down from one user to another is a practice as old as time and a great way to economize the use of fabrics. But, there are ways to do this responsibly. This all comes down to the reasons you are donating your used clothes.
So what are your reasons for making this donation?
1. These Clothes Don’t Fit Me Anymore?
Probably the best and most understandable reason that clothing is donated, is that it no longer fits the original buyer. As the body grows and changes shape clothes become loose tight or otherwise unsuitable to be worn. These clothes can be in very good condition and will most likely be worn by someone else if donated to the right organization.
2. I wore this once, but probably won’t wear it again!
Another common reason for packing up extra clothing and taking it down to the charity is an unsuitable purchase. Clothes that are basically new are donated in large quantities to charity organizations. On the one hand, this does repurpose the clothing and many will see a second life. On the other hand, donated clothing has flooded and already saturated market and is often sent to other countries where only a portion will be used and the rest will end in a landfill or burned – this strain on the environment is a global threat that must be diminished.
3. These clothes are stained, torn.
An important rule to keep in mind is if the clothes you are donating are not fit to wear by you, they won’t be fit for anyone else either. Charity stores receive massive amounts of clothing in all conditions and this adds a considerable amount of work to sort, clean and determine if each item is fit for use again. It has been estimated that over 25% of all donated clothes will end up in a landfill anyway.
What to Do With Your Clothes
Of course, clothes are meant to be shared and given away when they are no longer fitting and this is not a practice we should do away with. The important thing for a prudent and eco-conscious consumer to do will be to carefully consider how and where they take their unwanted clothes. Some organizations are better able to handle the vast quantities of clothing in a safe and harmless manner.
In addition to choosing a gooddonation spot for your clothing donations, it is also very important to make sure you are getting the most from your clothing. Here are some things you can do to ensure the clothing you buy is used to its full extent and doesn’t become a strain on the world’s waste management systems.
Mending your own clothing
Vintage clothing with stylish wear and tear is all the rave and you have everything you need to start sporting your old clothes in a whole new way. This is an especially important point if your clothes have seen some damage and will probably not make the cut at your donation center. If you aren’t sure how to mend properly, there are clothing repair specialists in your area to help you out.
Furthermore, get handy with dying clothes. There is so much more life that can be gotten from an old and faded item by brightening up those colors with a splash of dye. Jeans, pants, t-shirts and just about anything else can be transformed into something completely new.
DIY fashion is also at the forefront of style today. If you have a knack for needles and thread, there is virtually no limit to the things you can do with your old clothing. Upcycling is not just a practical home idea but a major industry based on the idea of making a new product from something old. Take this idea to a new level with some fine examples from the professionals. There are plenty of DIY themed pages that show how this craft can be done economically and even profitably.
Finally, the best way to avoid clothing donations in Edmonton is to watch your spending habits. It is far better to spend a large amount of cash on a single beautiful and quality item that you will care for and cherish, than to spend the same cash on 6 or 7 items of clothing that will all be discarded by the end of the year.