Keeping Our Clothes in Our Community

We’ve all seen and probably used them. Containers where we hand in our ‘old’ clothes so they can be resold or recycled. In an earlier article I wrote about The Clothing Myth Deficit and what happens to most clothes after they are collected. When I was organizing the first Clothing Swap Bergen -event, I coincidentally got in touch with Norge Gir, the company behind the blue containers with the big globe on them (you might have seen them around Bergen/Oslo/Stavanger). They offered to provide a first batch of clothing that we could use for the swap. This was an amazing opportunity to get enough clothes to start the event, so I decided to collaborate.

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How Our Clothes End Up in Landfills

Millions of tonnes of textile waste end up in landfills or incinerators each year (BBC 2020, Fixing Fashion 2019). There is no recent or reliable data on exact global numbers, but NBCLX (2020) talks about ten million tons of clothes for the US alone in 2015 and CBC News (2018) mentions three times a baseball stadium a year in Canada. I can’t even grasp the amount of clothes we’re talking about. Almost all of these garments are chemically treated and a big part is made of plastic-based materials. Needless to say that they cause a big threat to our environment. These enormous numbers got me wondering though. How do so many clothes end up in landfills? When I can’t resell or swap garments, I usually bring them to charity shops and almost everybody I know does the same thing. How is it possible, then, that so many clothes end up in landfills?

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