According to Planet Aid (an organization that recycles clothing), Americans throw away 85% of the clothes they don't wear. These clothes end up in landfills where they pollute the earth and the air. All of the textiles found in your closet can be recycled and repurposed.
When you think about the greenhouse gas effect usually you think of cars emitting CO2 into the atmosphere. You probably don't realize that when solid waste is buried in a landfill it releases gases into the air, like methane, as they decompose. From statistics shown by Planet Aid, about 3 to 4 pounds of CO2 are saved from entering the atmosphere for every pound of clothing kept out of the landfill. This translates to about 300 to 400 million pounds of CO2 per 100 million pounds of textiles.
On the opposite end of the textile life cycle is the cultivation. Insecticides are used to protect crops like cotton. The insecticides are poison that, while necessary, can pollute nearby waterways which can harm habitats and the environment. By reusing clothing, less cotton or other materials are needed to be produced, resulting in fewer insecticides being sprayed.
On the topic of water, the textile industry is responsible for 17-20 percent of industrial water pollution. Most of this comes from the dyeing and treating of fabrics. They also use a huge amount of fresh water. A t-shirt, for example, takes nearly 700 gallons of water to produce. If you were to recycle 100 million pounds of clothing, that could save 140 billion gallons of fresh water.
Learn more about where you can recycle your unwanted clothes at this link!