Saving Money by Recycling and Donating Household Items
Written by: Daniel Gleich
With a growing nationwide interest in the environment, many people have begun to move toward a more sustainable way of living. Young people especially have adopted a more minimalist mindset; choosing clean, organic, GMO-free, or gluten-free foods; and focused on reducing their carbon footprint while promoting personal health and well-being. One growing trend is reusing and recycling clothing and textiles. There are plenty of benefits to recycling clothing and household objects that are no longer being used.
Donating Clothes Helps Those in Need
Selling gently used clothes at thrift stores and recycling centers can help underprivileged families dress themselves without breaking the bank. Having access to stylish clothes can help increase self-esteem and make shopping for clothes feel less like a slog. It can also help people gain access to better employment opportunities and help with social mobility.
Donating Clothes Creates a Chic and Affordable Sustainable Market
Repurposing clothes and accessories has gained momentum in modern society through the use of thrift stores. This is not only good for humanity and the environment, but it's good for the wallet as well. You'd be surprised at the unique fashion finds that can turn up in thrift stores, and you'll sometimes even find high-end designer goods at rock-bottom prices there.
Recycling Clothes Benefits the Environment
In America, people throw out more than 68 pounds of clothes per person per year, and those clothes will eventually enter the solid waste stream. But more 2 billion pounds of textile waste have been saved from directly entering into the waste stream by being donated and recycled. This comes out to about 10 pounds for every person in the United States! And maximizing the useful life of clothing and textiles also reduces the amount that need to be manufactured. The production of clothing is one of the largest contributors to environmental degradation because of the hazardous chemicals and fossil fuels used to create these textiles as well as lax enforcement of environmental protections in developing countries where these clothes are created.
Recycling Textiles Leads to Improved Health
Textile production can have detrimental effects on people's health as well as the health of our planet. The production of clothing and textiles causes more harmful emissions to be released into the air, which people who live near these factories breathe in, and it also contributes to climate change.
Recycled Clothes Limits Unethical Business Practices
High demand for clothing leads to outsourcing of clothing manufacturing to developing countries where workers are treated poorly and often experience violations of their basic rights. Some people in garment factories make as little as 12 cents an hour while they work in poor conditions that can damage their health. As businesses compete for market share, they push to lower production costs, lowering the prices of their products for consumers at the expense of the people who made those products.
Recycling Can Promote a Minimalist Lifestyle
Some scientists say that a minimalist lifestyle is a path to happiness because collecting clothes, accessories, and household objects does not inherently make people happy. Having less stuff allows people to focus on the essentials in life that make them happy, like personal relationships and exciting experiences.
Recycling Clothes Allows People to Have a Chic and Unique Style
Few things are as satisfying as flipping through the racks at a thrift store and finding a piece of clothing that perfectly encapsulates your personality and style. When you shop at thrift stores or just trade cast-offs with friends, you can put together a look that's different from the off-the-rack fashions everyone else is wearing.
Places to Donate Your Used Clothing
- The Salvation Army: The Salvation Army accepts clothing donations and other items all over the United States.
- Once Upon a Child: Donate gently used children's clothing, furniture, and toys that can be resold to other families here.
- Goodwill: Whether you're donating clothes, household goods, electronics, or toys, Goodwill can accept your donations and then sell them to other people.
- Project G.L.A.M.: Donate your old prom dresses and accessories to provide underprivileged young women with everything they need to feel beautiful at their senior prom.
- Planet Aid: This international charity accepts clothing and shoes as donations.
- Soles4Souls: Soles4Souls accepts shoes and clothes and provides them to children and adults all around the world.
- Hearts for the Homeless: Donate your gently used clothes, shoes, and accessories at any of these nationwide clothing donation bins to help support the poor and homeless.
- GreenDrop: You can donate gently used clothes and household items at a GreenDrop location to support the organization's nonprofit and charity partners.
- Dress for Success: This global nonprofit provides a support network and donated professional attire to empower women to achieve financial independence.
- Fair Harbor Roundtrip Initiative: Instead of throwing out your old bathing suits, consider recycling them through the Roundtrip Initiative to reduce waste.
- Vietnam Veterans of America Clothing Donations: ClothingDonations.org is a service offered by the Vietnam Veterans of America that picks up used clothes and household goods to be used to support the needs of veterans.
- Career Gear: This nonprofit is dedicated to helping men look their best with donated suits so they can achieve financial independence.
- Retold: Instead of throwing out old textiles and clothes, fill up a bag from Retold to send your cast-offs to thrift stores, charity stores, and recycling companies.
- Becca's Closet: Donate prom dresses and formal attire that you don't plan on using again to help girls who cannot afford to invest in a new dress.
- Donate Stuff: Have clothing and other household objects you'd like to donate picked up from your home and given to a charity of your choice.
- The Bra Recyclers: You can recycle your gently used bras and unused underwear at drop-off locations across the United States and earn rewards with retailers and businesses that partner with this organization.
- 2ReWear: Keep your clothes out of landfills and enjoy savings at participating retailers.
Additional Information About Recycling and Sustainability
- What Is Sustainability? Understanding what sustainability is is a good first step toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
- Recycling in the Workplace: Are You Doing it Right? Recycling is more than tossing items into a bin and walking away.
- Energy Efficiency: The Clean Facts: Being more energy-efficient at home and work is not only a great way to help fight climate change, but it can help you save money, too.
- How to Recycle and Why You Should Do It: There's been a lot of progress in the world of recycling in the past few decades, but there's still a lot of progress to be made.
- Tips to Reduce Food Waste: Make a plan to help reduce food waste in your home and when you go out to eat.
- What Do Your Recyclables Become? A lot of items can be recycled, but do you know what these items become after they've been recycled?
- Tips for Teaching Sustainability to Kids: Help your kids learn more about sustainability with a few simple activities and lifestyle changes.
- What Is Water Conservation? Learn more about the practice of reducing unnecessary water use at home.
- Sustainable Living Tips: This page offers a variety of tips to help you get started living a more sustainable life and explains why these small changes can help.
- Battery Recycling for Businesses: Find out how to handle batteries or other hazardous waste managed by a home or business.
- How to Responsibly Dispose of Your Electronics: When you're done with your electronics, don't throw them in the trash. You can get rid of old, broken, and unused devices safely without adding to the e-waste problem.
- Simple Ways to Build Sustainability Into Your Everyday Life: Sustainability can start with just a few small changes in your everyday life.
- Earth Day Every Day: Sustainable Practices for Work and Home: Everybody needs to do their part to create a cleaner and more sustainable future.
- How Do I Recycle? Common Recyclables: Deciding to recycle is a good first step, but the next step is to make sure that you're recycling your property correctly.
- Recycling at Home and Work: This helpful document explains the benefits of recycling and what items to recycle.
- 101 Sustainability Tips and Ideas for a Greener Lifestyle: Not sure how to live a greener lifestyle? This article has 101 suggestions.
- Recycling Facts, Games, and Crafts: Even kids can get in on the fun of recycling!
- Simple Ways for Tweens and Teens to Go Green: You don't have to be an adult to be more eco-conscious.
- What Is Upcycling? Something old can have a new life as something unique and fresh with a few small changes.