Environmental Impact of Extending the Lifecycle of Clothes

Most of us donate clothes without really understanding the impact of what we’re doing. Donating any kinds of goods is a gracious act that is carried to help people in need. But there is a whole other side to donating clothes that people aren’t fully aware of.

Donating clothes responsibly has a positive impact on our environment.


Over the last few years, newspaper headlines have revealed that the planet is in the midst of an environmental crisis caused by the fashion industry. The fashion industry is glamorous on the outside but it’s also the second-greatest polluter on Earth.

By choosing to donate your old clothes, you are extending their lifecycle and doing the environment a favor.

Here’s how extending the lifecycle of clothes impacts the environment:

1. It Saves Water


Studies have shown that extending the lifecycle of clothes by just 9 months can reduce their carbon, water and waste footprint by 20-30%!

A single cotton t-shirt is considered an inexpensive, basic item of clothing. That simple t-shirt would have used up around 2,700 liters of water in the manufacturing process. Around 7,000 liters are used to grow the cotton that is needed to produce a high-quality pair of jeans. How many cotton t-shirts and pairs of jeans do you own?

Think about how many liters of water you can save by choosing to donate them.

2. It Prevents The Clogging Of Landfills


A vast amount of clothing is manufctured with synthetic fibers that are made of the same polymers as plastics; such fibers can take more than 200 years to decompose. Because of their inability to degrade, they end up clogging landfills. Furthermore, due to the lack of oxygen in landfills, these fabrics are forced to decompose anaerobically and release toxic fumes into the air.

If we continue to dump clothes the way we do today, landfills will soon breach into cities.

3. It Reduces River Pollution


The next time you head out on a shopping spree; think about the country of origin of the clothes you are purchasing. Rivers in many developing nations are lined with hundreds of textile factories that release chemical dye wastage and other harmful chemicals into the river without any treatment.

The rivers that once were a source of clean water are now filled with toxic waste that can possibly kill person on contact.

If everyone chose to extend the lifecycle of clothes and shop significantly less, we should be able to sufficiently lower the demand of fast-fashion items and protect the environment.

Whitehouse & Shapiro are leaders in the second-hand clothing industry. They purchase donated used-clothes and used-shoes from all over the US and sell them to their partners in foreign markets. Through Whitehouse & Shapiro’s continuous efforts, they extend the lifecycle of clothes and prevent 2.5million tons of textile waste from clogging landfills every year!

Become a partner by calling them at 410-356-8003 or visit them in their office in Baltimore, Maryland.

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