The environmental impact of recycling

Sep September 2018

Close to 95% of our textile waste could be recycled.

In Quebec and almost everywhere in the Western world, we get rid of our used clothing at an alarming rate.

We discard these clothes because we find it too complicated to donate them. Admittedly, the number of collection sites has decreased considerably since 2013. However, it’s a hundred times better to give these items to an organization like Le Support than to throw them out.

Did you know that:

  • North Americans send over 10.5 million tons of still-usable items to the dump every year.
  • According to Recyc-Québec, Quebecers throw away 24 kilograms of clothing every year.
  • Only about 15% of used clothing is recycled or donated, making textiles the reusable material with the lowest recycling rate.
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that current clothing and textile recycling patterns have a greater impact on reducing greenhouse gases than the recycling of yard waste, glass and plastic.
  • More than 2,600 litres of water are needed to produce a single new cotton T-shirt and more than 6,800 litres of water are needed to manufacture a single new pair of jeans –not to mention all the pesticides needed to control production (10% of the world’s pesticides are used to produce cotton).
  • The fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting in the world, after the fossil fuel industry.

As evidence of climate change mounts, everyone needs to ask how they can contribute in their own way to improve things. There are plenty of actions that we can take together, including developing more sensible shopping habits and reusing clothes instead of throwing them out. Objects can have more than one life. They may no longer suit us, but many other people may be pleased to have them.

Please spread the word!

*Le Support provides a network of donation boxes where you can deposit your items. It also provides a home pick-up service.