Making Fine Donations to the Needy
Around the world, textiles is one of the largest industries of all. After all, everyone needs clothes to wear, whether for everyday life, work or military uniforms, or formal attire. The United States in particular is a large market and producer alike of textiles, and many households have a lot of clothes and other items in them. Families today are urged to contribute to clothing donations and offer household donations to military families and the needy, but a lot of clothes are thrown away as well. Clothing drop off locations can be found across the United States, and charity foundations are always eager to accept more donations of clothes and household donations. This can help reduce rates of waste and keep landfills from filling up so fast, and needy families will certainly appreciate household donations. How might an American person or family today help contribute household donations and change the ratio of donated vs wasted textiles and items?
Current Rates of Donations and Waste
The United States, as mentioned earlier, is a robust producer and consumer of textiles. Americans today are buying nearly twice as many clothes as they did just 20 years ago, and billions of pounds of textiles of all types are consumed. Shirts and pants, dresses, coats, scarves, gloves, shoes, and much more are regularly bought at large and smaller retailers alike However, the bad news is that some old clothes are thrown away rather than donated so that needy families can use them.
Today, the textiles industry has one of the lowest reclamation rates for all reusable materials, with Americans donating or recycling only about 15% of all used and unwanted textiles and similar items. Most of these old clothes and linens such as tablecloths end up being thrown away instead of donated, and they merely take up a lot of space in landfills. Heaps of clothes in landfills don’t do anyone any good, and they aggravate current pollution rates. Many “go green” initiates call for slowing down the growth of landfills, and this includes redirecting clothes from landfills to local charities instead. The average American throws away nearly 70 pounds of textiles every single year, from clothes to table linens to bed sheets, and this adds up to many tons of wasted material per year.
The good news in all this is that Americans already have a strong charitable spirit, and boosting clothing donations and household donations means stoking this existing spirit of giving. Americans donate millions of clothing items to charities and similar humanitarian efforts every year, and the holidays, such as Christmas and Hanukkah, are a particularly charitable time. Military families, needy families, and the blind and disabled often receive many donations through these organizations. If more American households and individuals boosted their rates of charity, a lot more clothes would end up in the hands of those who need them. Current rates of waste could be greatly reduced.
How to Donate
Charity drives are open every day of the year and always welcome new donations, so families can launch a charity project at any time. How can this work? To start with, all members of a household can gather all clothing and accessories that they own from across the home and gather it all into a single, large pile on the floor. This creates a comprehensive inventory for ease of reference, and this can include shirts and pants, hats, shoes, coats, gloves, and more. Some households may be surprised by how large this pile ends up becoming.
At this point, everyone can start picking through the pile and choosing what to keep, and what to donate. Items to donate might be worn out or out of fashion, or they may be the wrong size or redundant with other items in the wardrobe. Items to be donated can be sorted into boxes or bags for transport, and the rest can be put back in dressers and closets. A person may now look up the name and address of local charity drives, if need be, and bring their packaged clothing donations to that site. The person may follow any additional guidelines or directions there, and a donor may even receive a tax rebate form for all their clothing donations, an attractive bonus.