As the semester comes to an end, dorm rooms are emptied as students begin to sift through their belongings, and return them to the bleak looking boxes they were in on move in day. Since move in day, a lot of time has passed and most students have accumulated a large amount of things they either don’t need or have never touched. As you go through your stuff this year, especially clothes, try to remember how many times you have worn something throughout the semester. If you find yourself saying never, or almost never, maybe it’s time you part with the excess of your wardrobe and send it off to where it is needed. The Rider University Eco-Reps will be holding their annual Don’t Trash It, Recycle It event between May 2-15, so It’s easier than ever before. In every residence hall there will be Community Recycling collection boxes for clothing items including shirts, pants, belts, purses and shoes. There will also be large collection bins outside on the campus green between the residence halls.
Community Recycling is a for-profit organization specifically created for the recycling of textiles. According to communityrecycling.biz, all the clothes collected for the organization make their way anywhere from Arizona to all the way to Zimbabwe. The clothes go wherever they are needed, and there are more people in need of clothes than you think. By recycling your clothes with Community Recycling, or any other organization for that matter, you are providing clothes for people who are less fortunate than you are. Not everyone is lucky enough to leave college with suitcases full of clothes, most of which are unworn.
If you aren’t recycling your unwanted clothing, then where is it going? According to ehow.com, the typical American discards about 68 pounds of clothing every year, this adds up to 2 quadrillion pounds of clothing being thrown away in landfills. Not only is it important to eliminate the waste of textiles while also helping those in need, it is also important to keep in mind the resources it takes to produce the clothes on your back. According to eartheasy.com, polyester is the most commonly manufactured fiber and is made from petroleum, which is an energy-intensive process that uses large amounts of water. Cotton, which is found in most clothing, is the most pesticide dependent crop in the world. One single t-shirt needs 1/3 of a pound of pesticides. It is important to keep in mind our resources. Trends will fade and you will find yourself with a closet full of “out dated” clothes, but think twice about what it takes to replace the things you don’t want anymore.
So, as you’re emptying drawers and closets, try to make your suitcase a bit lighter by dropping off unwanted clothing into the clearly labeled Community Recycling bins and boxes. That old band t-shirt that is two sizes too small, could be going to someone who needs it much more than you do. Don’t let your clothes clutter landfills either. Recycling textiles saves the massive amounts of resources (like petroleum, water and wood) we waste on production. Even if it’s just one shirt or an old pair of sneakers, every bit counts.