Nearly 100 percent of used garments and household textiles in the US can be reused or recycled, according to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART): 45 percent are reused as apparel; 30 percent are turned into industrial polishing/wiping cloths; and 20 percent are transformed into fabric for new items. 95% of the fabric used is recyclable, with just 5% being unusable due to mildew or other pollution.
The amount of textile waste produced by the US has doubled over the last 20 years, according to estimates. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 16.2 million tons of textile waste was produced in 2014. Of this number, 2.62 million tons were recycled, 3.14 million tons for oil recycling were combusted, and 10.46 million tons were sent to the landfill. Consumers are considered the principal flaws in tossing their discarded garments out since only 15% of used apparel is reclaimed, while the producers recycle over 75% of pre-use apparel. Every year the average customer consumes 60 percent more clothing pieces and retains them for only twice as long as 15 years ago, creating a large amount of waste.