Thursday 26 May 2016

Stemming The Spill Of Used Clothes

An art installation on a Seattle beachfront has got Americans thinking about the amount of clothing they send to landfill every year.

The installation, part of a promotion by thrift brand Savers, mixed up the two most polluting industries on the planet–fashion and oil–to create an eye-catching piece with a strong message. As hovering oil cans seem to pour out an unending stream of discarded clothing, the connections to toxic waste and pollution could not be clearer.

The sculpture is cleverly made, but couldn't be simpler in construction. It's just wood, chicken wire, old oil barrels... and 3,000 pounds of discarded clothing.

The numbers for American recycling of old clothes are pretty poor. Less than 15% of second-hand garments are recycled or reused. That means over ten million tons of textiles are sent to landfill every year in the US. That's a pretty shocking number, and one that's ripe for improvement.

Hence the installation on Seattle's Alki Beach, part of an initiative by Savers called Rethink Reuse. This aims to get Americans to consider their fashion footprint–and the things they can do to lessen it. Savers' CEO Ken Alterman laid out the intention:

"With the growing amount of clothing and textile waste ending up in landfills, we felt compelled to act. We want to help people better understand the environmental impact of their clothing waste and the steps they can take to reduce it."
The message of Rethink Reuse is straightforward: donate to Savers' non-profit partners, recycle or think of other uses for the clothes taking up wardrobe space. America is a country with a strong history of thrift and invention. It's time to recapture that spirit.

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