The used clothing market is red hot right now but not every UK citizen seems to know that! In a research study commissioned by Sainsbury, it was found that a whopping 235 million clothing items would be sent straight to the landfill during spring cleaning! Moreover, each individual persona bins an average of nineteen items! This is such a missed opportunity to divert rubbish removal from landfills, especially given the strong demand for recycled and reused clothing.
In a battle of the sexes for which gender is greener, the study also found that men are far more likely than women to send their old clothing to the landfills. Eighty-two percent of men surveyed in the Sainsbury study said they would immediately bin their unwanted garments whereas only sixty-nine percent of the women surveyed said they would do the same. This is a a wide thirteen percent difference so it’s worth exploring why this difference exists between the sexes. In doing so, hopefully we can get both sexes to recycle their clothing more, rather than put them in the rubbish removal bin, and hopefully decrease the gap between men and women.
First, it is educational to examine and contemplate some of the reasons the survey participants gave for binning their old clothes rather than recycling them:
– Forty-nine percent said they didn’t think they could recycle them because they were too worn out and or soiled.
– Sixteen percent said they just didn’t have the time to go in person to a charity drop off to donate them or even spend the time to sort them from their other rubbish removal.
– Six percent of those surveyed actually did not know that clothing could be recycled!
So, it looks like any educational effort should emphasis the fact that ALL clothing can be recycled, if not reused! Furthermore, there are resale shops and charities who will wash the used clothing and mend it as needed before resale.
Here’s a couple more facts to consider:
– According to a survey commissioned by the Pepsico Company, forty percent of those surveyed said they’d be turned off by a person who didn’t recycle! This includes potential dates. In fact, whether or not a man recycled ranked higher than how big his bank account was, whether or not he had a graduate degree, or if he exercised on a regular basis!
Perhaps if more men knew that recycling turned women on, they would be more zealous about recycling their clothes! Who knows who you may meeting at a charity drop off point for used clothing, wink wink!
– A compilation of eight years of data from Gallup Polls show that women are more informed about the scientific data on climate change that are men.
Perhaps it would behoove us to target men more in our educational campaigns about the green house gases emitted at landfills. Clothing items, like food waste, are among the worst offenders in a landfill for emitting greenhouse gas, since they produce METHANE GAS as they degrade, which is far worse than carbon dioxide. If more men knew this fact, they might be more compelled to recycle their old clothing rather than binning them.
Clothing has been the fastest growing source of waste going to the UK landfills for about ten years. That’s the bad news! On the positive side, the word is getting out about this and several charity groups and community activists have made it a top priority to reverse this trend and raise consumer awareness. UK residents have responded well to these public awareness campaigns as evidenced by the growing demand for used clothing. However, given the results of the Sainsbury survey, perhaps some of the public awareness campaigns should be more targeted at men.
If you don’t have time to take your old unwanted clothing to charity store drop off points, you can always call Clearabee to arrange a time to pick them up for you. Clearabee makes every effort to take items to a place where they will be reused or recycled rather than go into the landfill. If you decide to follow this option, it would be helpful if you could sort the clothing into two piles, one for clothing that is still usable and another pile for clothing that in a very bad state but could still be broken down into individual fibers and recycled. Please note that clothing is still usable even if it needs to be washed and or mended before it is put out for resale and reuse.