The New Republic writes: “The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing each year. There’s just too much of it, more than anyone can give away or sell in charity thrift shops. While the sorting industry dates back to at least the 1930s, and the collection and resale of rags in America goes back even further, the recent increase in disposable fashion has created a demand for facilities to process used clothing. Organizations will sell donations to facilities like the one where Zweig works for around 25 cents a pound. The clothes are then sorted on an industrial scale and usually end up one of three places: recycled into rags and wiping cloths, baled and shipped to the developing world, or, for the items deemed the most valuable, sold to vintage and consignment stores.”
With money to be made in the fashion industry off of toss-away clothing, how are consumer gears shifting? Writer Whitney Mallett takes a hard look.