A Youth Advisory Board Project.
Climate change is one of the most discussed issues in current debates. However, one component of this large, complex issue is rarely talked about: textile waste.
Textile waste is responsible for 20% of industrial water pollution. By 2030, the clothing industry alone is expected to match the current greenhouse gas emissions in the US, which is equivalent to 4.9 gigatons of CO2.
Did you know that…
- Only 15% of consumer used clothing is recycled.
- 15+ million tons of textile waste is generated in the US each year.
- Nearly 100% of textiles and clothing are recyclable.
- One thrifted t-shirt saves 700 gallons of water.
- Synthetic clothing may take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill.
- The recycling of two million tons of clothing per year equates to taking one million cars from U.S. streets.
Textile Takedown is a project initiated by students of the YVC Youth Advisory Board to address the issue of textile waste by educating others about the importance of donating and recycling old textiles such as clothes and shoes. Through the reuse of clothes and textiles, we can avoid pollution and energy-intensive production of new clothing. Additionally, clothing that cannot be reused may be repurposed into products such as rags. If the average life of clothing was extended by just three months, it would reduce their carbon and water footprints, as well as waste generation, by 5-10%.
YAB students are running school-wide education campaigns and textile collection drives with a goal of collecting, and thus diverting, 1,000 lbs of textiles away from landfills and into thrift stores.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
- Recycle old clothing! Donate textiles to local nonprofits who can use them for their clients, assist those in need, or re-sell them to help support their mission.
Local textile donation sites include:
- Hope Rescue Mission- (all clothing and textiles) 645 N 6th St, Reading, PA 19601
- Animal Rescue League (towels and blankets) 2765 Paper Mill Rd, Reading, PA 19610
- Mary’s Shelter (women’s and children’s clothing) 615 Kenhorst Blvd, Reading, PA 19611
- Safe Berks (women’s and children clothing) 255 Chestnut St, Reading, PA 19602
- OppShop Store for Opportunity House (all clothing, shoes and textiles) 3045 N 5th Street Hwy, Reading, PA 19605
- New Journey Community Outreach- (all clothing including business attire for the dress for work program) 138 S 6th St, Reading, PA 19602
- Goodwill (all clothing and used textiles) Multiple locations including 602 E Lancaster Ave, Shillington, PA 19607, 3001 St Lawrence Ave, Reading, PA 19606, and 3413 N 5th Street Hwy, Reading, PA 19605
- Reduce new textile purchases. Consider shopping thrift stores before buying new or renting clothes through companies such as Rent the Runway.
- Reuse your textiles. When possible, repair clothes instead of buying new ones.
- Become an advocate! Learn more about textile recycling at https://www.thebalancesmb.com/the-basics-of-recycling-clothing-and-other-textiles-2877780; https://www.thebalancesmb.com/textile-recycling-facts-and-figures-2878122
Watch our PSA below:
Youth Advisory Board of Berks County Community Foundation and Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading includes student representatives from Wilson, Wyomissing, Berks Catholic, Governor Mifflin, Reading, Conrad Weiser, Exeter, Brandywine, Lancaster Country Day School, Twin Valley, PA Virtual, Schuylkill Valley, and Danielle Boone School Districts.