From the President
Mobilizing to Fight Textile Waste
Dear Supporters and Friends,
We've had a very busy year fulfilling our mission. Planet Aid’s staff collected approximately 90 million pounds of clothing, shoes, and other textiles from our network of bins and donation centers in 2017.
This success is a product of our efforts to further enhance our partnerships with communities, local governments, and businesses to host our donation bins. These partnerships have made it easier for the public to drop off their unwanted clothing and, in turn, has helped to save valuable resources, relieve landfill burdens, reduce municipal disposal costs, provide good jobs for staff, and—because the useful lives of these resources are extended—help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.
If you have been following the news, you may have read that the dangers of textile waste have become increasingly serious, and in the past year, organizations and businesses have launched campaigns drawing attention to the problem. One such organization is the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which published a groundbreaking report called: A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion's Future.
The report shows that in the last 15 years, clothing production and consumption has doubled. The average consumer purchased 60 percent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but the garments are only being used half as long. The result is skyrocketing textile disposal volumes.
I found these statistics to be very alarming, but at the same time I am encouraged that more groups such as the MacArthur Foundation are helping to mobilize support for reversing this trend. Planet Aid has been working for over two decades to divert clothing out of the waste stream, while increasing public awareness about the need to reuse and recycle.
As you know, we are also able to take the textiles we save and convert them into dollars for development, which serves to multiply the impact of every T-shirt, sweater, or pair of slacks we receive. The projects these funds support help people in regions of the world where life is particularly difficult and opportunities are few. On the pages of this annual report you can learn more about our international development projects and also about our domestic initiatives.
We are proud of our accomplishments in 2017, but our success would not have been possible without the generous support of our donors, partners, and staff.
Thank you for making 2017 a great year.
Ester Neltrup, President and CEO