Why You Should Never Throw Your Old Clothes in the Trash

iStock.com/belchonock
iStock.com/belchonock

The Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, which offers tips for reorganizing personal space and getting rid of clutter, has inspired many to shrink their overstuffed closets. Thrift stores have seen an increase in donations of used clothing, a phenomenon that's been credited to the influence of the show.

But people have a popular, alternative method of disposal for unwanted clothing. They simply throw it in the trash. And that’s become a real problem.

According to Fast Company, residents of New York City toss 200 million pounds of clothing into the garbage each year. The used clothing goes on to take up space in landfills indefinitely. The Environmental Protection Agency reported in 2015 that 10.5 million tons of textiles wound up in the trash that year.

New York’s fashion leaders and the city’s sanitation agencies have started an advertising campaign directing people to over 1000 drop-off points where unwanted clothes can be deposited for recycling or repurposing. (Apparel companies are still working on ways to effectively reuse materials that are collected.) But if you can't find one of the collection points in your nabe, what can you do with your old clothes?

Selling is one option. Local boutiques may offer only a modest price for your used clothing bundles, but they’ll likely wind up in other hands rather than a landfill. There are also online marketplaces like thredUP and Material World that pay cash or offer store credit for designer or chain-store apparel that you mail in. To maximize their value, it’s best to present clothing folded, buttoned, and cleaned.

You can also try sites like Rehash Clothes to facilitate a clothing exchange with others who are looking to spiff up their wardrobe. If you want to toss clothing because it’s damaged, give some thought to repairing it instead. Things like loose or missing buttons can be simple fixes; stains can be obscured by dyeing material. All of these options can retain some of your clothing’s value.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s best to keep clothing on someone’s back in one form or another—not in the trash.

[h/t Fast Company]

2624-Year-Old Cypress Tree Discovered in North Carolina Swamp

iStock/earleliason
iStock/earleliason

National Love a Tree Day on May 16 is a day to appreciate all the world's trees, but a bald cypress recently identified in North Carolina is especially deserving of recognition. As Live Science reports, scientists date the tree to 2624 years old, making it one the oldest living non-clonal trees on Earth.

For their study, recently published in the journal Environmental Research Communications, a team of researchers studied the rings of trees in North Carolina's Black River swampland to learn more about climate history in the eastern United States. Bald cypresses are known to have impressive lifespans, but after analyzing specimens in the Black River's Three Sisters Swamp, an area that's notable for its long-lived trees, the scientists discovered that cypresses can grow to be even older than previously believed. The 2624-year-old cypress tree they found predates the Great Wall of China and the Roman Empire. Other remarkably old trees, including a 2088-year-old cypress, were also identified in the same grove.

The North Carolina cypresses are old, but there are other types of trees that can grow to be much older. Clonal tress are genetically identical plants that reproduce asexually from a single ancestor. Old Tjikko, a clonal tree in Sweden, has a root system that dates back 9550 years.

Despite all that North Carolina's bald cypress trees have endured, their lives are under threat. The swamp where the 2624-year-old tree stands is located just 6.5 feet above sea level, which means that floods driven by climate change could damage its habitat. And though the grove is in a protected area, industrial runoff and logging that's happening nearby could impact the trees' health. North Carolina is considering establishing a Black River State Park where the trees grow to further protect the ancient natural wonders.

[h/t Live Science]

This Beverage Maker Lets You Enjoy Carbonated Drinks Without Hurting the Environment

Sparkel
Sparkel

Whether you're preparing breakfast before you head off to work or looking for something to wash down lunch, procuring the perfect beverage is vital. If it's a carbonated drink, though, with that comes the carbon dioxide emissions that arise every time you hear that classic "fssst" sound from cracking one open. These emissions are actually quite harmful to the environment.

But thanks to the newly unveiled Spärkel, curating carbonated drinks can be done without using CO2 or any artificial ingredients.

"If you walk into any grocery store, the explosion in the popularity of sparkling drinks is plain to see with more choices and flavors than ever before, but why buy off-the-shelf when it is healthier, cheaper, and more fun to create your own drinks at home?" Darren Hatherell, CEO of Spärkel, said in a press release. "With Spärkel, we created a system that lets people use the freshest ingredients and convenient carbonation process to experiment and unleash their creativity in a way that is kind to their wallet and the environment."

Users can place any kind of ingredients they wish—berries, citrus, cucumbers, etc.—along with their drink of choice—water, tea, cocktails—into the 25 oz. (750 mL) bottle and choose what level, from one to five, of fizz they'd like to have added to their drink. The sealed chamber generates CO2 naturally from a sachet of Spärkel Carbonator powder, which is "made of a special granulation of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate." The CO2 bubbles are cycled through the liquid, and within a couple of minutes, you have a completely personalized sparkling drink.

On top of all that, the beverage maker is suitable for any number of usages from water and juices to cocktails. It also comes in nine different colors—black, white, gray, yellow, orange, red, blue, green, and pink—so it can match up with whatever kitchen palette you have.

To get your hands on the Spärkel, check it out on Indiegogo, where it's available for a pre-sale price of $59.

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