Americans could do a much better job at reducing waste. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. In addition to composting and recycling, people in this country could also donate, rather than throw away, their used clothing and household textiles.
The average person within the United States creates about 4.5 pounds of trash a day. This amounts to roughly 1.5 tons a year. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 75% of the solid waste produced in this country can be recycled. Unfortunately, just 30% actually is.
On a positive note, Americans either recycled and composted nearly 87 million tons of material in 2012. Whether this included food waste, paper products, or other materials, it did make a difference. To give you an idea of the difference it can make to just recycle newspapers, approximately 25 million trees could be saved every year if just one-tenth of these newspapers were recycled.
On an annual basis, recent figures show that the United States generates 21.5 million tons of food waste. If this food were composted rather than being thrown away, this could make a difference in several vital areas. One of these is reducing the amount of greenhouse gases, which would be the equivalent of removing two million cars from the country’s roads, streets, and freeway systems.
There is also a considerable amount of textile waste within the United States. This includes clothing as well as household textiles. The Council for Textile Recycling reported that this country creates about 25 billion pounds of new textiles every year. It’s an unfortunate fact that roughly 86% of this usually ends up in landfills. While charitable organizations and second-hand stores will usually receive the remainder, this still amounts to 12 million tons of clothing and textiles being thrown away.
Textiles actually have the worst recycling rate of any material that could be reused. While Americans may recycle or donate 15% of their used clothing, the remainder, which amounts to roughly 82 pounds per person and 10.5 million total tons that ends up in the country’s landfills every year.
When Americans do donate used clothing, however, about half of these items are worn again. The remainder is recycled and repurposed for these and other potential purposes:
- Cut up to be used as industrial rags: 30%
- Shredded to be used for couch stuffing and to insulate homes
When Americans make charitable clothing donations, this can make a significant impact on the environment as well as help those in need. While some charitable clothing donations are used for helping families in need, others are sold at the aforementioned charitable shops. When sold, these items assist with funding programs that benefit veterans and their families.
If you’d like to make charitable clothing donations, The Military Order of the Purple Heart is one of the organizations that will pick up your items. There are also drop-off locations available when this is convenient for you. When you create the time to make charitable donations, it feels good to be aware that you’re not alone. approximately 95.4% of Americans continue to participate in some type of charitable giving.