I think most of us are guilty of not giving a second thought to items we recycle, compost, sell or discard in the trash.
I certainly don’t ponder the fate of cans or boxes after they’re picked up by the recycling truck. I trust that they go off to the recycling plant and are crushed, melted or broken down before being turned into something shiny and useful.
But I am curious about the fate of textiles, particularly clothing. (And mattresses but that’s a topic for another day.)
I have a tendency to keep old ripped clothing that is unfit to be donated. I hope to do something magically crafty with it one day. I think it’s noble but apparently that makes me a bit of a hoarder.
One reason I do this is because I don’t know what else to do with it.
I won’t throw it out because it will sit in a landfill. I won’t donate it because it’s passing along broken junk that will probably get put in a landfill.
So it sits in a box in my basement next to my sewing machine that has had too little use.
I happily donate clothing that is in excellent condition. Those items will surely be sold or re-donated by the pre-loved clothing retailers or community services that receive them.
But what of the donated items that aren’t deemed good enough for that?
The old ripped shirts, sweaters with broken zippers, pants with worn pockets, socks that never found their mates and pajamas that have seen too many nights surely go somewhere.
Check out Unravel for some answers. It’s an award-winning short film about garment recycling and the workers behind the massive industry so many of us know little about.
It’s fascinating. Whether for good or bad, I’ll never think about donating clothing the same way again.