As I’m looking for more things to load up and take to the thrift store, I am reminded of a new-ish service in Thurston County: Threadcycle.
Threadcycle is a clothing, textile and shoe recycling program through Thurston County Solid Waste that partners with local thift stores to keep textiles out of landfills. Only have one sock, donate it instead of throwing it away. Worn out shoes or gloves? Donate them! It’s such a cool program. As long as it’s free from chemicals, and not wet or mildewed, they’ll take it. Old sheets can go, too!
This bit of info of their page always give me pause, “In the United States the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing and textiles a year.” 70 pounds! That’s more than the checked baggage allowance on an airline flight. That’s more than what a Kindergartner weighs (maybe? I’m guessing here). It’s around the size of a full grown Labrador or German Sheppard.
I’m astonished we could have so many textiles per person to get rid of. Then I think of books like “Overdressed: The High Cost of Fast Fashion” and “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster” that describe the radical change the clothing industry has gone through in the last 20 to 30 years. The shift of manufacturing to overseas factories with lower costs lead to a spike in clothing that was cheaply made and and could be changed out swiftly. It also cost less to purchase, making it more accessible to a broad clientele.
The result is we end up buying more clothing than we need, because it’s fun and doesn’t feel like it’s breaking the bank. Also because we have a need to be on point and fashion forward, even if that means we only wear the item for one season, or even just one time.
While it’s always better to reduce than recycle, the Threadcycle folks make their program each to access. According to the information on the website, you don’t have to sort your items specially, just drop them off like you would anything else to a designated partner location. (Personally, I do set aside a bag for the Threadcycle items, but that’s just how I am.)
So maybe give a thought as you are cleaning out those closets and drawers, instead of tossing the old, worn out clothes in the trash, toss them in a bag and let them be recycled into a new life.