Only a small amount of donated clothing (around 15-20%) actually gets resold because charities receive far too many donations than they're able to resell. These charities often recycle damaged donations or what cannot be sold, but most of it sent to landfills or even sent overseas (only ~1% of used/donated clothing actually gets recycled and turned into new clothes). This pattern has created significant waste worldwide, and we are running out of space to manage it.
Most of the largest receivers of secondhand goods are located in Africa, in countries including Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal. In these countries, there are large street markets solely devoted to reselling donated goods. Many of these places benefit greatly from their ability to resell clothing, but they also suffer as they're unable to manage the sheer volume of donations they receive. A simple Google search illustrates the extent of the clothing donation waste overflow problem in these countries. Some have even banned the import of secondhand clothes to avoid the issue altogether.
But don't worry, it’s still good to donate - just investigate before you do! Make sure to research the charities to which you are donating and make sure the clothes/other goods are going directly to those in need rather than ending up as stock or waste.
If you clean and repair before you donate, clothes have a better chance at being recycled.
Instead of donating or throwing away your clothes, consider donating to Salvage. Let your undesired clothes turn into something new instead of sitting in a landfill!
For more information on where to donate (in NYC area), click here.
Let me know what you're looking to donate and we can arrange a pickup or drop-off (NYC Area). Everything donated will be repurposed into future garments.