Reusing Textiles

In 2019, Planet Aid collected over 99 million pounds of textiles. Planet Aid makes it easy to keep textiles out of landfills by placing our signature yellow bins in convenient locations. Every pound of clothing collected by Planet Aid translates directly into significant environmental benefits. 

Reduction of Greenhouse Gases 

A contributor to accelerated climate change, the greenhouse effect is associated with increasing amounts of CO2 released into the atmosphere. We normally think of CO2 as coming from our car’s tailpipe or an industrial smokestack. However, when solid waste such as textiles is buried in landfills, they release greenhouse gases as they decompose, including methane, a particularly destructive substance. At the other end of the clothing life-cycle spectrum, the production of textile fibers and the manufacture of cloth burns considerable quantities of fuel that releases CO2 into the atmosphere.

How much CO2 is saved through clothing reuse? Approximately 3-4 pounds of CO2 are saved for every pound of clothing that is spared from disposal. This means that Planet Aid effectively saves 300-400 million pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere for every 90 million pounds of clothing we collect. This is the equivalent of taking 26,000-35,000 cars off the road. According to the U.S. EPA, a passenger car emits about 11,000 pounds (4.75 metric tons) of CO2 a year on average.

Landfill Space

An obvious though sometimes forgotten benefit of textile recycling is that open space is spared when waste is diverted.

Fewer Insecticides 

By facilitating the reuse of clothing, Planet Aid reduces the need for growing more cotton (the most commonly grown source of textile fiber) or other materials to produce the fabric for making new garments. Given that approximately 0.02 pounds of pesticides are used to produce one pound of new clothes, Planet Aid has protected waterways from millions of pounds of insecticides. These insecticides include some of the most hazardous nerve agents on the planet, namely aldicarb, parathion, and methamidophos.

Cleaner Water, Less Water

According to the World Bank, 17-20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to textile dyeing and treatment.  In addition, the production of fabric uses immense quantities of freshwater.  One T-shirt, for example, consumes about 700 gallons of water.  The roughly 90 million pounds of clothing Planet Aid collects annually saves about 130 billion gallons of clean water. Put into perspective, Americans drink 8.4 billion gallons of bottled water per year.

Reducing the Burden on Municipalities

Cities, towns, and counties also reap rewards as a result of Planet Aid’s work. By not having to collect and dispose of extra municipal waste in the form of unwanted clothing, Planet Aid saves municipalities millions of dollars in associated costs.