How Fast Fashion Adds to the World’s Clothing Waste Problem and 29 Clothing Elimination Resources

photo Organization Inspiration - Recycle Clothing

Recently, my daughter and I were discussing a documentary she watched, “How fast fashion adds to the world’s clothing waste problem.” I’m a fashion lover, and I am guilty of overbuying clothes I don’t need. This documentary was an eye-opener that may change that behavior, or at least stop me from buying “fast fashion” clothing. A couple of facts that caught my attention:

  • 25 billion pounds of clothing in North America ends up in landfills
  • 85% of clothing donated ends up in landfills
  • Only 1% of clothing is recycled
  • 400% increase in clothing purchases since the 1980s
  • Fashion is one of the world’s top polluters

As the seasons change, I suggest my clients let go of the clothing they haven’t worn the past season because they most likely won’t wear it. After watching this documentary, I will encourage my clients to think of why they bought those garments in the first place and to find a way to love them again. However, there will still be garments they will most likely decide they need to pass along because of fit, or they simply no longer need. That’s when they ask me, “What on earth do I do with it?” I assembled the following list of clothing elimination resources to share with my clients and thought my blog readers might benefit from it too.

Donate

Divine Threads is a gathering of volunteers and board members with one passion: making every woman we work with feel loved, feel beautiful, and know she has a purpose for her life.

Dress for Success is a global not-for-profit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and life.

Soles for Souls turns unwanted shoes and clothing into opportunity by keeping them from going to waste and putting them to good use – providing relief, creating jobs, and empowering people to break the cycle of poverty.

Clothing donations made through Pick Up Please help support the Vietnam Veterans of America, a national nonprofit organization that assists American veterans of all wars, as well as their families. Pick Up Please accepts all types and sizes of clothing, from baby sweaters to junior dresses to men’s sportswear. All clothing styles are appreciated, regardless of current trends and popular fashions.

Consignment Sell/Buy

Buffalo Exchange

Crossroads

Eileen Fisher

Here We Go Again

Katelyn’s Closet

Madewell

Modo Boutique

Poshmark

Seams to Fit

Thred-up

Donate and Recycle

Carters – Baby and kids clothing

Free the Girls – Bras

H&M – Any clothing or fabrics

Harper Wilde – Bras

Knickey – Undies, bras, socks, and tights

Nike – Nike shoes

Smartwool  – Socks

The Bra Recyclers – Bras

Zara – Any clothing or fabrics

Second Hand/Trade-in

Levi’s – Second hand

Levi’s – Trade-in

Patagonia – Trade-in

REI – Trade-in

Other

Clothing Swap – To host a clothing swap, invite a handful of good friends who wear approximately the same size to bring their closet surplus, and you can exchange clothes among you.

The Wardrobe The Wardrobe is a nonprofit social enterprise, and our Box is on a mission to use clothing to inspire change. Every Box purchased provides a free Box to outfit someone for work.  Their clothing and accessories are sourced from high-quality, preloved items so that each Box supports sustainable fashion.  Think StitchFix meets ThredUp meets charitable mission!

What clothing donation, recycling, and consignment resources, or other ways to repurpose unwanted clothing can you share?

3 Comments

  1. Janet Barclay on September 29, 2021 at 7:28 am

    This subject is near and dear to me, Anne. Now that stores are open again, I’ve been shopping, and recently acquired 10 new tops for about $30 at two local secondhand stores. One is a consignment shop which is sadly closing soon, but the other has a different business model – you bring in the items you no longer want or need, and if they think they can sell them, they will buy them from you right there and then. I took in a few items and they purchased a winter coat and boots which were still in good condition but not suiting my needs. They didn’t want anything else because I do buy secondhand when I can, so by the time I’m finished with something, it’s not usually new enough for them to resell. I took the rest to a charity thrift shop and hope not too much of it will end up in the landfill.

    • Anne Blumer on September 29, 2021 at 11:04 am

      Wow, ten tops for $30; that’s motivation to shop consignment stores! For over 30 years, I have taken all of my unwanted gently worn (like new) clothing to Katelyn’s Closet that is in my neighborhood. What they don’t sell, they donate, and I hope most don’t end up in the landfill. And, I have found some lovely pieces for me there too. Going forward, I am going to make an effort to shop more at thrift stores. I do love the thrill of hunting for a good bargain if I find something I genuinely love!

      • Janet on October 14, 2021 at 8:07 am

        I love the name Katelyn’s Closet! There’s one around here, not close enough that I’ve gone, that’s called My Sister’s Closet, and that name really appeals to me – maybe because I do a lot of my clothes shopping when my sister is editing her own wardrobe. 🙂

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