As one of the largest first world nations, America has gained an international reputation as a consumer economy. Our need to purchase is not a point of criticism, but in fact the central driving gear to the wealth of our nation. With so many consumers however, it becomes only natural that waste occurs. The average American throws away around 4.5 pounds of trash every day — over the course of a year that averages out to be over 1,500 pounds of trash. Thanks in large part to a growing social awareness, many Americans are trying to minimize the scope of their impact through conservational efforts including recycling, cutting back on waste, and through charitable donations.
What Our Landfills Wear
Every year our nation consumes nearly 20 billion garments; this is equivalent to 68 garments and 7 pairs of shoes per person in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that Americans end up throwing away an average of 10 pounds of clothing per person every year. Studies suggest that of all garments thrown away, almost 100% could have been recycled, donated, or repurposed instead of being left to rot away in our over-crowded landfills. Although many of us have clothing buried in the recesses of our closet that we have not seen let alone wore in years, in an ironic twist there are hundreds of thousands of individuals who would gladly accept such unwanted garments to protect them from the elements. While the nature of our waste is immense, there are exemplars that make a conscious effort to instead practice generosity through used clothing donations.
The Generosity of Our Neighbors
In an increasingly large and diverse world, it is good to know that there are still those with respect, integrity, and love in their hearts — these people are the donors like you and I who are able to benefit countless lives thanks to the services provided through non-profit organizations. Non-profit thrift stores that accept donated goods are able to use the retail dollars generated from those donations in order support neighbors in need. Statistics from 2015 show that proceeds from the sale of clothes donations to thrift stores actually exceeded $2.5 million; these proceeds helped to support charitable programs both locally and nationwide. Around 70% of Americans give to charity on an annual basis with roughly 3% of American income going to charities every year. In return, non-profit organizations have helped to contribute an annual economic value of $666.1 billion to the United States economy. While many are certainly benefited by the tax-deductible donations, around 63% of high net worth donors have cited an altruistic motivation of benefiting the community as their chief motivation for giving.
Donating in Your Community
The number one reason most people choose not to donate goods is due to a lack of available donation sites in their area. There are a number of ways that non-profit organization are meeting this need for drop offs. American Red Cross clothing pick up services are popping up around the country in an effort to better serve the needy by streamlining the donation process. American Red Cross clothing pick up is a simple alternative to traditional drop offs; simply place a call and set up a pick up time and the American Red Cross clothing pick up service will gladly take your charitable donation to help benefit neighbors in need. Like other non-profit organizations, American Red Cross clothing donations help fund blankets, food, shelter, and blood drives that all help save lives. There are other ways that individuals can help those in need: volunteer your time to a homeless shelter, donate non-perishable canned goods during collection times, make a cash donation (every little bit helps), or simply take time to get to know those individuals that need your help — sometimes a friend to talk to is what someone really needs. Check online to see if there is an American Red Cross clothing pick up service in your area to see what you can do to help neighbors in need.