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Vintage is the New Green

Posted: Dec 18 2014

Here's the dirt on fashion, vintage and the garment industry... And just one more reason to buy vintage!
According to the EPA Office of Solid Waste, Americans throw away more than 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per person per year and clothing and other textiles represent about 6.3% of the municipal solid waste (in major cities like New York and Chicago alone, textiles make up a whopping 10% of all municipal waste).
The best way to "recycle" clothing is to simply to donate it - thrift shops, coat drives, etc... Charities and businesses all over the world collect used clothing to be resold or donated.
In fact, many people don't realize that used clothing represents a massive global market. Your giveaway "dad jeans" might end up for sale in a village market in Guatemala or Nigeria, helping the local economy while at the same time taking the burden off of landfills.
Recycled clothing also creates jobs at charity organizations, consignment stores and businesses that reuse the fabric to make products for sale. Cleaning rags, blankets, new clothes and even the U.S. dollar are examples of products that may contain fabric from recycled clothing. The U.S. textile recycling industry consists of about 2,000 companies, most of which are family-owned. They provide about 17,000 jobs and account for gross sales of $700 million every year.


The process of milling fabric is very energy and water intensive. It requires vast amounts of natural resources to produce one ton of fabric, and of course there are carbon emissions involved. The donation of unwanted clothing will conserve precious resources. This isn’t just a matter of providing people low-cost clothing, but it also aids the health of the earth, as well as your own. Here’s how. According to the Danish Technological University, a mere one pound of donated clothes on average saves:
10,000 pounds of water
0.5 lbs of fertilizers
0.4 oz. of pesticides
6 pounds of carbon emissions

Every item of clothing you own has an impact on the environment. Some synthetic textiles are made with petroleum products. Cotton accounts for less than 3% of farmed land globally but consumes about a quarter of the pesticides.

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