You may have seen them around your community, collection bins for clothes that eventually make their way to a second hand shop or charity. What happens to clothes that just get thrown out though? What about employee uniforms and other items? Americans discard 10.5 million tons of clothing that lands in a landfill every year. Today we will explore where discarded clothing goes and where it could go instead.

The Facts

It turns out that most Americans only donate or recycle only 15% of their used clothing annually according to The Atlantic and the rest goes into landfills making textiles one of the poorest recycling rates of reusable materials. If you weren’t aware, most clothing can be recycled and it is rare that something can’t be used to make something else. While roughly 45% of clothing is just worn again, 30% are cut down and used as rags and another 20% are reprocessed. That leaves only 5% of clothes recycled actually unusable. There is still a growing concern however about our waste of textiles.

Charity Donation Bins

Many people rely on the charity bins surrounding our communities for ways of disposing of clothes without guilt. It turns out recently certain companies such as Viltex have been placing these bins for donations and using them to make a profit, outraging Americans who donated to these bins. Charity companies like Goodwill and Salvation Army actually tend to be the biggest textile recyclers since the early 20th century before waste consumed our nation. Donating to these companies is important but with such a surplus of clothing, how is the best way to donate clothes without having them end in a landfill?


Think Logically

Most recycling we do from newspapers, to bottles, to can is done by for-profit companies. It is wrong for these companies to pretend they are donation bins, but putting your used clothes in there is no different than recycling a Coke bottle. Most used clothing ends up in the hands of someone else selling it anyways.


The difference between donating to charity or recycling your clothes is not that different. Remember, 95% of old clothes from uniforms to sock can be reused for other things and don’t end in a landfill. Consider this when disposing of old clothes, don’t throw them away, just donate.


For Your Uniform Needs

To begin designing and assessing your uniform needs, contact Chesapeake Uniform and register to rent or purchase uniforms for your company. We have served in the Mid-Atlantic region for over 30 years and our quality is unmatched. Give us a call at 410-558-3360 or visit online to let us know what we can do for you. Be sure to stop by our social media pages to view examples of our work and more services provided on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.