Ask Eartha: A wardrobe with a conscience
I just did a major closet clean-out, and I have a stash of old clothes ready for a new adventure. What’s the scoop on clothing donations and recycling these days?
Cleaning out your closet can be both refreshing and rewarding, revealing forgotten treasures. But what do you do with those clothing items that no longer make the cut? The good news is, in Summit County, we’ve got some great options for responsible clothing recycling. Let’s declutter with a conscience!
Get creative with repurposing
If your clothes are looking more hole than whole and you wouldn’t pass them on to a friend, it’s time to embark on a repurposing adventure. Let’s give those worn-out garments a brand-new life! Before you toss them into the trash, let’s think outside the box. Turn that cherished but tattered workout tee into a trusty bike chain lube cloth or a dependable paint rag. Let your creativity run wild — it might even transform into a fashionable hair scrunchie! And those old baby onesies? They’re perfect for sprucing up as cleaning rags for your home.
Give your clothes another life
With your ratty old clothes transformed through repurposing, it’s now time to find a new home for your high-quality pieces. If you’re excited about giving your pre-loved items a fresh beginning, Summit County offers a variety of thrift stores that are eager to receive your clothing contributions. Be sure to check out local stores like Summit Thrift and Treasure, Funky Trunk Boutique and Angels Rags to Riches. Before donating, reach out to these spots directly for the lowdown on their guidelines.
Don’t forget, you can also offer items for free on local Facebook groups. Additionally, the Summit County Resource Allocation Park accepts drop-offs of clothes, footwear, accessories and household linens that are in reusable condition. This is the key: reusable.
Choose quality over quantity
Let’s keep in mind that the reduce and reuse principles are before recycle in the waste reduction hierarchy. Now, let’s dive into the world of where your clothes come from. Have you ever crossed paths with fast fashion? It’s like a speedy assembly line for cheap and trendy clothing from big retailers, but it comes with its share of environmental and ethical concerns. While it might seem like a steal, there’s a hidden cost to the planet and people. A lot of the clothes that are tossed aside end up in the “burn or bury” bin — a fancy term for burning or dumping in landfills. This contributes to more pollution and environmental challenges. Spare a thought for the folks crafting those clothes — often in not-so-great conditions. It’s high time we look beyond the price tag and understand the true costs of those too-good-to-resis” deals. Remember, quality isn’t just about style. It’s about making a pledge to a longer-lasting and eco-friendly wardrobe.
Consider buying secondhand treasures
Buying brand new clothes can be exciting, but have you ever considered purchasing secondhand? Venturing into the world of thrift shopping isn’t just about finding cool stuff — it’s like embarking on a scavenger hunt that’s secretly saving the planet! Seriously, when you opt for pre-loved gems, you’re not just upgrading your style game. You’re giving a high-five to Mother Earth. Say goodbye to the energy-guzzling, resource-draining process of making new clothes. By picking up secondhand goodies, you’re basically a superhero, rescuing perfectly good threads from ending up in landfills. And guess what? You’re also supporting local charities and giving back to the community while strutting in your new-to-you finds.
Remember, each choice you make about your clothing has an impact. By reusing and repurposing, we contribute to a more sustainable world. Together, we can reduce the waste and pollution caused by the fashion industry and promote responsible consumption. So, the next time you clean out your closet, think beyond the donation box and consider the full lifecycle of your clothing. Let’s make fashion a force for good, one conscious decision at a time.
Lauren Richmond is the marketing and events manager at the High Country Conservation Center. Ask Eartha Steward is written by the staff at the center, a nonprofit dedicated to waste reduction and resource conservation. Submit questions to Eartha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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