These trends highlight the ever-growing concern of textile waste, which now accounts for 5 percent of all municipal waste, says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It is estimated that the average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing or textiles per year, with only 15 percent of all textiles being recycled. Billions of pounds of textile fabric wind up in landfills each year, all of them with the potential to contaminate the soil if buried, or release greenhouse gases if burned.
Part of the problem is that the vast majority of Americans mistakenly think that stained or torn clothing cannot be used. In fact, statistics show that approximately 99 percent of clothing thrown away could be recycled. If donated to charities, these seemingly useless textiles will eventually wind up as insulation, upholstery stuffing, or even U.S. currency: yes, the dollar bill in your pocket may contain fabric from recycled clothing.
Textile recycling is a great way to contribute to the betterment of both the environment and the economy. To find local bins and outlets for recycling, visit planetaid.organd earth911.com.