Birthday. Graduation. Wedding.
Apart from the joyous atmosphere, these celebrations also share the sight of beautiful brand new clothes.
While it’s good to look our best in these momentous events by buying clothes after another, control is still important since clothes start piling up without us noticing. The next thing you know, your closet has already become too stuffy.
Then, the inevitable happens. Some clothes have to be disposed of.
On average, one Australian purchases 27 kilograms of new clothes and discards 23 kilograms of clothing to landfills yearly. With this stat and the fact that most clothes are 27% polyester, Australia surely has a textile waste disposal issue.
Fortunately, people are now actively taking part in the solution-making process. Charities and organizations initiating clothing donations have already proliferated around the world.
Now, let’s see how these initiatives have been faring by looking at some clothing donation facts/stats.
10 Facts/Stats about Clothing Donations
1. It’s happening all across Australia!
Australia has around 2700 charity shops and social enterprise reuse centres facilitating clothing donation. Most of these are located in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria.
2. Clothing donation generates jobs
As of May 2021, charity shops and social enterprises in Australia have supported approximately 5000 jobs.
3. It’s for a greater cause
Charities resell the clothes you donate to generate funds for causes like mental health awareness, aged care services, suicide prevention, and programs for children and the homeless.
4. Charities spend a lot to send unusable donations to landfills
Charities spend $13 million to send approximately 60 000 tonnes of unwanted items, including unusable clothes, to landfills yearly.
Although donating is encouraged, it’s our responsibility to ensure that the clothes we’re donating are of decent quality. Otherwise, we’re only burdening charities with our wastes.
5. The majority of donated clothes are useful
Donated clothes or textiles are not usually sent to landfills. In fact, 48% of Op-Shop sales are clothes.
6. Donated clothes are mostly recycled
Less than 10% of donated clothing is kept and sold by charities in their thrift shops. The remaining 90% are sent to recycling companies instead.
7. Recycling clothes is energy-saving
A 2005 study in the UK determined that for every kilogram of cotton and polyester from clothes recycled, 65 kWh and 90 kWh are saved, respectively.
8. Worn-out clothes are exportable
In 2016-2017, Australia exported a total of 93,502,966 kilograms of worn-out clothes and other textiles. Two-thirds of the exports were from charities.
9. Clothing donation floods markets in developing countries
Clothing donation is done with good intentions. But, one drawback of this initiative is the competition it creates against the local garment industry of developing countries.
10. It helps clothe the whole world
On the bright side, the excess clothes donated from developed countries like the US and Australia are also given away or sold cheaper to those in need.
Now that you know a few facts about clothing donation. Here are 5 charities in Sydney that you can support.
5 Charities that Accept Clothing Donations in Sydney
Anglicare, a not-for-profit organisation, offers home care, residential aged care, foster care, and many more. These programs are funded by their sponsors and Op-shops.
You can support their cause by filling their clothing recycling bins. 210 of these are located at Anglican parishes and schools across Sydney.
The Australian Red Cross aids communities during disasters. They host search and rescue operations and blood-letting activities and provide shelter to refugees.
They rely on donations and the funds raised from Red Cross Shops, where quality pre-loved items are sold.
You can donate clothes over the counter or through the charity bins found in their shops.
Save the Children is a global organisation championing children’s rights in 117 countries.
One of their sustainable fund sources is Op-Shops selling and accepting donations of clothing, books, bric-a-brac, furniture, and homewares.
With this organisation, your used clothes can help create a better world for vulnerable children.
It’s an organisation aiming to put faith in action by assisting people in need and combating social injustice in Australia.
Its social services arm, Vinnies, sells pre-loved items, including clothes, to fund its services and programs for the less fortunate.
Wesley Mission is also a Christian organisation offering social services to people who have it rough in life and are homeless.
They fund their program through sponsorship and the Wesley Mission Stalls, where pre-loved items, including clothes, are sold.
Unlike other charities, all clothing donations to Wesley must be pre-arranged before being dropped off.
By donating clothes, you’re easing the landfill crisis and giving hope to charity-supported communities.