Giving away used clothes may sound simple: You drop them off at a donation center, and then they’re sold to somebody who can re-use them. Right?
Not quite. In reality, donated clothing often takes a much longer journey before meeting its ultimate fate. In the end, it may get re-sold. But it also may end up in the trash, joining the more than 12 million pounds of American textile waste that was sent to landfills during 2013. And that benefits no one.
Goodwill is one of the biggest U.S. landing points for donated clothes: Stores in New York and New Jersey alone collected more than 85.7 million pounds of textile donations last year, Jose Medellin, director of communications for Goodwill NY/NJ, told HuffPost. And his Goodwill region is just one of 164 regional Goodwill organizations across the U.S. and Canada.
As you’re probably starting to realize, it takes a ton of effort to guide your clothes from the Goodwill donation bin to their final resting place. Knowing how Goodwill works can help you make smarter decisions when deciding if another jeans purchase is really worth it for you, for the donations staff and for the environment.