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What Happens to Clothing Waste?

Over 6,813 litres of water are used per pair of jeans produced. This number is nothing less than significant.

It’d be one thing if we had these clothes forever, but that is usually not the case with clothing. As fashion trends change, we like to change with them. Instead of wearing the same pair of jeans, we think out with the old and in with the new!

Yet, when we do that, we are significantly impacting our environment. Clothing waste is a huge problem and is becoming more and more of an issue.

When you donate your clothes, do you know where they go? When you toss that shirt you’ve been using as a rag, do you know where it goes?

Every piece of clothing that you get rid of exacerbates the issue.

So what happens with the clothes that you get rid of? Read on to find out more.

Clothing Waste Ends Up in the Landfills

Most articles of clothing that are thrown away or people get rid of end up in landfills. But just how much?

For starters, in Europe alone, Europeans discard about 11 kilograms of textiles per person each year.

It’s estimated that around the world, it is as if a large garbage truck is full of clothes and textiles that are thrown into landfills every single second of the day. And from there, all year long.


clothing waste


At this point, you may be wondering why we don’t recycle more clothes. The problem is that a lot of the clothes that we have in the first place are not recyclable. They are made out of materials that cannot be recycled.

For instance, many articles of clothing are partly made out of plastic. These create synthetic fibres in our clothes. However, the plastic combines with crude oil to create these fibres, which is what makes it unable to be recycled.

On the bright side, there are ways to replace these plastic fibres with eco-friendly fibres. However, many companies do not because there aren’t any restrictions or laws in place to make that happen.

The Bigger Issue

The biggest issue with clothing waste actually stems from the manufacturing and clothing retailers in the first place. They are the ones creating the worst amount of pollution from clothing waste.

This happens when manufacturers in retailers actually end up overstocked. When they have too many articles of clothing, when the seasons change, or for whatever other reason, they end up throwing these textiles away.

Although manufacturers are in control of how many textiles and articles of clothing they make, it is extremely common to overproduce products. These overproduced products significantly contribute to all global carbon emissions each year.

Not only that, but clothing waste also contributes to pollution in our oceans. This pollution is harming marine life and contributing to climate change. The simple overproduction of clothing has the ability to impact the direction of our planet.

Doing Your Part in Reducing Clothing Waste

Luckily, there are so many different ways we can start doing our part in reducing clothing waste – both as manufacturers and as customers. So what are the top ways to reuse, reduce, and recycle?

Manufacturers Can Limit Production

If you are a manufacturer of clothing, one of the best things you can do is limit production. Instead of overproducing, as many do, you can sell a set amount in order to decrease the waist coming from disposed clothes. If there is ever a demand for more, you can set another limited amount to that as well.

Use Eco-Friendly Fibers

Manufacturers can also begin to use eco-friendly fibres. Not only is this great for the environment, but customers are starting to only choose articles of clothing that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. By switching to Eco-friendly products, it is a win-win situation for everyone.

While manufacturers can begin to use eco-friendly fibres, as a customer, you can choose to only buy clothes that are made out of eco-friendly fibres. This will ensure that we are all doing our parts.

Rent Clothes

There are more and more companies coming about that allow customers to rent clothes instead of buying them. This reduces fast fashion and promotes the reuse of clothes to keep them from going into the landfill.

Donate Clothes

If you tire of your clothes, the best thing you can do is donate your clothes. However, you need to know where your clothes could end up when you donate them.

Because there are so many articles of clothing donated on a daily basis, there are only so many pieces that can actually be reused. This means that many clothing pieces that you donate do not end up being sold.



Other pieces may end up being shipped to other countries for reuse.

Paying attention to what you donate can also reduce waste. If there are rips or holes in your clothes or there are missing buttons, try repairing them before you donate. This will increase the likelihood that it will actually make it to the sale rack.

Reducing Clothing Waste

Clothing waste is one of the biggest contributors to climate change and waste that ends up in landfills and even the ocean.

Doing our part as consumers and manufacturers can significantly reduce the impact that clothing disposal can have on the planet.

If you are collecting clothing waste, using a baler that can significantly reduce the size of what ships abroad can reduce shipping costs and shipping containers. If you think this is interesting, you can get a quote today.