Is Your Ecological Footprint As Small As You Think It Is?


Let\’s face it: going green can be tough. While most of us try to make as many small changes as possible to reduce our ecological footprints, it can be tough to reduce the amount of landfill waste generated by every home. While recycling, car sharing, and composting are all fantastic steps to take to save the planet, one often-overlooked area of household waste is clothing. Americans recycle or donate only 15% of their used clothing. While you might not think that used clothes have a large ecological footprint, consider the facts below.

Americans send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills annually, and the average American throws away nearly 70 pounds of clothing, linens, and other textiles each year. These clothes and other textiles contain dyes, preservatives, and other toxins that can seep into groundwater supplies or otherwise poison soil layers. On top of that, some fabrics and textiles are not fully biodegradable and will spend thousands of years in landfills. For many people, these facts about unwanted clothing and textiles can be surprising. If you\’re looking for some extra ways to be green, consider donating your used or unwanted clothing rather than throwing it away.

About 4.7 billion pounds of clothing are donated by Americans each year. These used clothing donations not only help save the Earth, but are also deductible from your taxes. Remember, though: any used clothing donations worth more than $250 will require a receipt to write off on your taxes. These donations are not only good for your tax return, but for many charities as well. Used clothing donations and their sale help fund wounded veterans charities and other charity organizations.

Take a look around your close and ask yourself: how many items of clothing haven\’t been worn in 6 months? If you live in a one to two season climate and you haven\’t worn an item in 6 months, it\’s time to let it go. The average American buys at least twice as many pieces of clothing as 20 years ago, and many of these go unworn or only worn a few times. If you\’re looking for one easy way to be greener, increase your tax write-offs, and help charities at the same time, donate your unwanted or unworn clothing today.
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