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Savers

What do you do with all the clothes you no longer wear?

Timeless as your wardrobe may be, chances are you'll eventually want to mix things up.


Sadly, even fluorescents get old. Image via iStock.

But when it's time for a closet refresh, a lot of us just toss our old gear in the garbage, where it's destined for an over-dressed hole in the ground.

An art installation unveiled on Seattle's Alki Beach will make you think twice before trashing your old clothes.

The striking piece was commissioned for an Earth Day event as part of Rethink Reuse, a campaign by thrift store chain Savers to get people thinking about their fashion footprints.

Check out their thought-provoking video, or scroll down for more:

Consumers are buying more clothes than ever before, and it's fueling a larger human crisis.

In North America alone, we send over 10 million tons of used clothing and textiles into landfills every year despite the fact that almost all of those items are reusable.

Photo by Gengiskanhg/Wikimedia Commons.

The clothing industry is one of the world's top polluters; "fast and cheap" fashion is costlier than it may seem.

The cost of new clothes isn't just what we see on price tags — it's also in the massive social and environmental debts we rack up by producing new clothes.

Image via Savers, used with permission.

Price tags tend to not account for a few key figures — such as the 713 gallons of water it takes to make a single t-shirt or the 70 million barrels of oil used to make just a year's worth of polyester. With the world consuming 80 billion new pieces of clothing each year, those external costs add up.

The most sustainable product is the one that already exists.

Shocking statistics like those were the inspiration for this project, which was brought to life with 3,000 pounds of discarded clothing.

And with a few empty oil barrels, two-by-fours, and chicken wire...

Image via Savers/YouTube.

...the installation was stopping beachgoers in their sandy tracks.

Image via Savers/YouTube.

Close to 1,500 people walked among the eye-catching sculptures, marveling at the creativity and learning about clothing waste and pollution (and thousands more viewed it online).

Image via Savers, used with permission.

"With the growing amount of clothing and textile waste ending up in landfills, we felt compelled to act," said Ken Alterman, president and CEO of Savers in a press release. "We want to help people better understand the environmental impact of their clothing waste and the steps they can take to reduce it."

Savers' goal was to spread one simple and actionable message: The environmental impact of the clothes we wear and throw away is massive, but there are simple things we can all do to help counteract it.

They're calling on consumers to reuse, donate pre-owned goods to its nonprofit partners, and recycle their old clothes instead of burying them in landfills where they're no good to anyone and to buy secondhand when possible.

With only 15% of our used clothing currently being donated or recycled, there's plenty of opportunity for all of us to create change.

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