US consumers throw away around 8.1 trash bags worth of clothing each year

US consumers throw away around 8.1 trash bags worth of clothing each year

US consumers vastly underestimate the amount of clothing and textiles they throw away each year, a report has found, with many wanting to learn more about recycling.   

The State of Reuse report published by US thrift retailer Savers examined perceptions of clothing consumption and reuse and identified educational opportunities to change wasteful habits. It was commissioned in light of statistics showing consumers threw away 81 pounds of clothing in the last year – 95% of which can be reused or recycled.

The report found that US consumers report throwing away an average of 4.7 trash bags worth of clothing each year, while the actual amount disposed is nearly double, at 8.1 trash bags worth. It also found misconceptions around donation centres, with 54% admitting to throwing away their clothing because they don't think donation centres will take them. 

Consumers, however, do have a strong desire to learn about reuse and its positive economic and environmental impacts, with more than half saying they are more likely to reuse after learning about the clothing industry's impact on the environment. And, more than 90% believe the concepts behind reuse should be taught in schools to increase sustainable habits in future generations.
"As an organisation committed to reuse, Savers felt compelled to identify barriers and clarify misconceptions around donating clothing and purchasing pre-owned goods," said Ken Alterman, CEO of Savers. "The insights garnered from the Savers State of Reuse Report point to the growing opportunity for the public and private sectors to work together to educate people about reducing clothing's environmental footprint and drive the adoption of reuse."

Click here to view the full report.