According to Elizabeth Cline's book the Conscious Closet, 23.8 billion pounds of clothes and shoes are thrown into the garbage each year in the United States alone -- equivalent to about 73 pounds per person. Americans are purchasing fast fashion at a higher rate than ever before, and second hand dealers are overwhelmed.
When you drop off your used clothing to various charities, they only sell about 20-25 percent of donated goods -- the rest is sold to textile recyclers or exported overseas. An estimated 70 percent of our soiled, poor quality clothes are sent by the palette to sub-Saharan Africa where the dealers barely make a living wage and clothing waste is ultimately sent to landfills. We are literally passing our consumption waste onto developing nations to rid ourselves of social responsibility.
So what can we do?
-Use what you have, make smart long term purchases
-Support brands that are doing good by the environment and paying their garment workers a living wage
-organize clothing swaps, use hand me downs, shop your local thrift shops
AND, get creative!