Op-Ed: America Leads the World in Textile Waste and Unwanted Clothing, Here’s Why

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EAmericans rarely think about clothing waste because, really, what’s there to think about? It’s a crisis that’s entirely hidden from us. Our understanding of what happens to our fashion mistakes ends at the point at which we drop off our worn-out t-shirts, dresses and jeans at our local charity or toss it into a collection bin or, increasingly, our trash cans.

What happens to it from the point where we donate it? Few of us know. Americans are still talking about used clothing in charitable terms–we like to think we still live in a world where clothing is scarce and expensive and we are donating to someone in need. Please. The world we actually live in is one where dresses at Forever 21 and Target start at $4.99. The cold hard truth is that U.S. has the worst clothing waste problem in the world. Why? Because America has the worst clothing consumption problem in the world. We buy far more new clothes than any other country on Earth — and we’re failing to connect the fact that the new inevitably displaces the old, even if “the old” is that H&M ribbed bodysuit bought on a whim just two weeks ago.

In order for me to truly understand America’s crisis of unwanted clothing, I had to go to New Jersey, to a textile sorting facility. Read the rest of the article at the BF+DA Blog.