Americans Throw Away 13 Million Tons of Clothing Per Year

Mya Sinquefield
Americans Throw Away 13 Million Tons of Clothing Per Year

While shopping at Predominantly Black, you may see us use phrases like "conscious consumerism" as well as prices that are higher than usual.

Both, conscious consumerism and our pricing are due to the fact that Predominantly Black promotes sustainable, conscious shopping. We do not support brands that outsource manufacturing to Bangladesh or China. Most PB vendors manufacture in the US and/or Canada, where workers are paid minimum wage at least. Here is a short list of "did you know's" when buying outsourced items:

  •  482 million people in China – 36% of the population – live on less than $2 a day.
  • Approximately 150 million internal migrant workers in China who, because of their status, do not receive any state benefits or protection.
  • In 2009 alone, approximately one million workers were injured at work and about 20,000 suffered from diseases due to their occupation. One of the biggest risks to the health of textile workers is sandblasting, a technique used to treat denim so that the fabric has a worn look.
  • About one million children aged 10 to 14 working as child laborers in Bangladesh, according to UNICEF.
  • In Bangladesh in 2013 in which more than 1,100 people were killed, most of them poor seamstresses due to a collapsing sweatshop building.

PB also emphasizes the nature of buying quality long lasting clothing. Which in turn not only ends up saving the consumer money in the long run, but also helps the environment.

By becoming a conscious consumer, you are no longer buying to buy. You are living by the phrase quality over quantity.

Our addiction to clothes is growing and as a result, people around the world collectively consume more than 80 billion items of clothing each year, and those items are increasingly seen as disposable.   

Naturally by buying fast fashion (typically clothes made in China and Bangladesh) when the trend is out, the consumer will donate it to Goodwill (which ends up on our streets) or send to Africa. Sounds good, but isn't.

On average each American throws away roughly 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles per year, equivalent in weight to more than 200 men’s T-shirts. 

The scale of waste is no great surprise when you consider that retailers tend these days to focus more on price than quality, which means many garments may survive only a few washes. More than this, the constant change of styles leads to heavy markdowns as retailers need to get rid of stock to create space for the newest styles.

Those clothes that don’t get thrown away often end up in cheap markets in the developing world. This ever-growing mountain of garments prompted five East African Countries earlier this year to announce they are considering banning the import of secondhand clothing because their own domestic garment industries have no hope of competing against them.

So please, next time you buy, ask yourself two questions; How long will this last me? and Who is suffering for it?




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