Our society is a throw-away society. Clothing clots the second-hand stores and everyone tends to wear an item once and toss it in the wash. The idea of wearing a pair of jeans for three or more days is foreign to young people. I not only wear my pants for a week, if they are clean, but T-shirts two or three days as well. If I’m out and about, I change, but to work around the house? It seems practical to me to do less washing and wear my clothing until it gets dirty. It lasts longer and doesn’t get washed to death. It saves water.
I’ve complained in this blog about truck loads of clothing and useable items being dumped into the landfill by a second-hand store manager. When I asked him why he doesn’t offer it to people for free, he said to me: “You take care of your business and I’ll take care of mine.”
The economy has changed considerably since then. I was pleased to learn that Goodwill has put GO BINS in apartment complexes and other public places for people to unload their unwanted clothing and useable hard goods conveniently. And, in Calaveras County, where clothing was dumped in the landfill, the county supervisors decided to approve the idea of deposit boxes in shopping centers with the same intent in mind. They used to have them, but they became messy as people rummaged through things and tossed stuff all over the parking lot. I don’t know how they intend to prevent that from happening. The Go Bins have a sensor telling when they are full. Here, I think they should do like Telluride, Colorado, and put up a shelving unit marked FREE. Like a bulletin board, people can bring or take things. What doesn’t get taken can be removed to a second-hand store or shipped overseas to countries that accept such goods. Waste is waste, and kids (and adults) might catch on to the benefits of not wasting stuff. Why not start a local factory producing rugs and quilts and insulation from unwanted fabric? I’ve seen it done by volunteers all over the U.S. It can work here.