Long before clothing became a fashion statement in the form of intricate patterns and colors that signified royalty, it primarily functioned as utility–a way to protect the body from the elements of sun, wind, snow, and rain. Today, Americans are buying more clothes. Some statistics put the average American buying twice as many pieces of clothing compared to 20 years ago. Unfortunately, much of that clothing is going to landfills–10.5 million tons each year to be precise.
The implications for the environment are fairly straightforward. Textiles, which are a type of clothing or woven fabric, account for 5% of municipal waste because only 15% of them are recycled. The amount of pounds of clothing, linens, and other textiles thrown away each year is staggering too: 70. And when compared to the amount of clothes sent to landfills, the amount donated to charity organizations is relatively small.
Everyone knows the general used clothing stores run by charity organizations (think Goodwill or the Salvation Army). At these stores, a clothing donation is fairly simple: There’s a drop-off location where clothes and other goods can be donated and a receipt is available for individuals that would like a deduction on their taxes for that year. But some charity organizations are making the process even easier by employing a service called a charity clothing pick up.
A charity clothing pick up is very similar to what it sounds like. It’s a service employed by charity organizations and foundations where you can donate your used clothes (you can contact the charity organization without ever having to set foot in their office) and the organization will send someone to pick them up for you. A charity clothing pick up is a process designed to make things easier on you, with the hopes that this will result in increased donations, more used clothes for the people these organizations serve, and less geographical impact with less clothes and other textiles going to landfills.
Many of these organizations target specific groups of people. Many are focused on helping military families or look for veterans clothing donations. Others help children in need of clothing and others are green charities. Charitable clothing donations can run the gamut of items those populations would need. This can include men’s sweaters and jackets, dresses, jeans and socks, and even shoes. With Americans recycling or donating only 15% of used clothing, these charity organizations use a charity clothing pick up service to grow their ability to provide these goods to the populations they serve.
An important part of this process for an individual donating is the tax write-off. A tax write-off takes the value of the clothing you’ve donated and allows you to use that value as a deduction on your taxes. This only applies to organizations with a 501(c)3 donation. An example of amounts that could be deducted include men’s overcoats and suits at $60 or even a coffee maker for $4-$15.
A charity clothing pick up attempts to make the process of donating used clothing easier and simpler.