Textiles, and clothing in particular are different from most other recyclable materials. The foremost idea is to collect and reuse the clothing, to find other people that will wear it. It is almost impossible to reuse clothing once it goes through the process used in most curbside recycling programs (the recycling carts at your house). This material is handled by large machines, all the contents mixed together and then mechanically sorted by other large machines. At the end of this process the clothing is no longer wearable.
All items deposited into a donation box are collected and separated (clothing from non-clothing items) by hand, then hand-packed or made into bales while keeping the clothing in the best shape possible for the people who will wear it in the future.
Clothing that is not sold locally in the US is often shipped to developing countries. We provide the communities in these parts of the world with the needed, low cost and affordable clothing. In fact for many people used clothing is the only kind they can afford.
If these clothes and shoes are bought, sold, and paid for, it can generate a much needed economical movement in the otherwise stagnating or declining economy.
The poorest countries typically do not have their own clothing industry any more and lack the strength to develop one. It could be because the lack of materials, skilled workforce and investment availability, not even mentioning the global competition from Southeast Asia. Often the local production is too expensive for the poorest to afford it and so the import of second hand clothing can have positive effects on the economy. In fact millions of people all through Southern Africa and South America make their living by buying, selling, repairing and/or altering the clothes or shoes which many of us would not wear any more.
Last but not least; cotton, the raw material for most of clothing produced today is one of the most water, nutrient, labor and pesticide intensive crops grown on industrial scale. It takes over 900 gallons of water just to grow a pound of cotton; the amount of pesticides and fertilizer needed to grow enough cotton to make one T-shirt is almost the same as the final weight of the T-shirt itself!
The Environmental impact of a cotton T-shirt:
Material, production and transport phases, resources spent and greenhouse gasses produced:
Per Pound of final product
We have the power to preserve a significant amount of resources by reusing and recycling textiles and our collection boxes are a very simple way to do just that.