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]

Make Shopping Easier With This Super-Light Reusable Bag

Nanobag 3.0
Nanobag 3.0

With the current state of our environment being what it is, it's vital to try to reuse, reduce, and recycle as much as possible. Every year, people consume billions of plastic bags, leading to tons of unnecessary waste. Many consumers have made the switch to reusable bags, but they're often not the sturdiest nor most attractive method of portage.

The Nanobag 3.0, which is now raising money on Kickstarter, claims to be a comfortable, easy-to-fold, high-quality bag that can reduce the number of single-use plastic bags needed per year. This super-soft sack can easily fit into the smallest of places, like the watch pocket in your jeans.

Putting a bag into the watch pocket of jeans
Nanobag 3.0

Weighing just 0.7 ounces, the Nanobag 3.0 is made of water- and dirt-repellant rip-stop fabric. You can carry about 66 pounds of goods in its 18-liter capacity, and the bag's reinforced handles work to distribute the weight evenly on your shoulder or arm. Attached to the bag is a small pouch that can carry keys or a small wallet, so you can have all your essentials in one place.

For each bag sold, one tree will be planted with the Eden Reforestation Projects, a non-profit organization that restores forests and reduces poverty in developing nations.

With over a month left in its campaign, the Nanobag 3.0 has already exceeded its goal of $3,831, raising over $73,000 as of June 17. By pledging $10 or more, you can get your own ultra-light and ultra-strong reusable bag on Kickstarter. Shipping is scheduled for December.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

633 Divers Set World Record for Largest Underwater Cleanup

iStock/kanarys
iStock/kanarys

According to NOAA, billions of pounds of waste are dumped in the world's oceans every year. On June 15, a record-breaking number of divers cleaned up thousands of pounds of it from the waters off Deerfield Beach in Florida, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The 633 divers who participated in the ocean cleanup project earned the Guinness World Record for largest underwater cleanup ever. Outfitted in wetsuits and scuba gear, they cleared up to 3200 pounds of debris from the popular shoreline. Deerfield Beach is home to a fishing pier, so much of the waste they collected was related to that activity; lead fishing weights alone contributed 1600 pounds to their haul. Other noteworthy scraps found on the seafloor included a boat ladder, a barbell, and a sign warning boats to keep their distance from the pier.

The cleanup was part of the Dixie Divers' annual pier cleanup. For this year's event, a representative of Guinness World Record was present to take an official tally of the participants. The group broke the previous record for largest underwater cleanup set by a team of 614 divers in the Red Sea four years ago.

The waters off Deerfield Beach are home to reef that supports vibrant marine life. Now that divers have beautified that patch of ocean, the city of Deerfield Beach plans to dispose of the waste properly and recycle as much of it as possible.

[h/t Sun Sentinel]

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