Heroes

We throw away tons of clothing — here are 3 things that can be done with it instead.

The interesting paths our clothing takes after we get rid of it.

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Savers

Did you know that Americans throw away around 81 pounds of clothing, towels, bedding, and other "textiles" per person in one year?

Genie cannot believe that figure. GIF from "Aladdin."


That's a lot of usable items going into the garbage! In fact, according to the Council for Textile Recycling, textile waste takes up about 5% of space in landfills that are already pretty crowded.

That's huge.

Why does this matter? Well, manufacturing clothing takes a lot of resources.

The textile industry is known for being hard on the planet and the people working and living near textile factories. Throwing away clothing means also throwing away all of the resources that went into making it.

Plus, when your clothes sit in a landfill for long enough, they start to break down and release dyes and other chemicals into the ground, which can contaminate local water. Those pants you grew out of and the dresses you no longer wear can affect the environment for years after you throw them away.

Mmmm, gross old clothing water. GIF from "Broad City."

Reusing clothing instead of tossing it is a great way to relieve some of the environmental stress.

Every piece of clothing that is recycled saves greenhouse gases that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere to replace those textiles.


Your clothes are too cute to end up in a home like this. Photo via Ashley Felton/Wikimedia Commons.

There are a lot of ways to save your old clothing from a trip to the landfill.

1. There's one obvious answer: resale shops. Just because you're done with your clothes doesn't mean they're done being clothes.

According to the CTR, only 15% of the textiles we buy are donated or recycled. We can do better.

So many clothes ready for their second home. Image via Steven Depolo/Flickr.

2. "Well-loved" textiles can be recycled into eco-friendly rags and shop towels for factories and auto shops.

This is the path taken by about 30% of clothing donations made to charities.

Pro-tip: You can also cut out the middleman and cut up some old textiles to make your own rags to use around the house! Speaking from experience, old souvenir shirts from Disney World make awesome rags for washing your car.

3. Recycled clothing that's not fit to be worn anymore (I'm looking at you, T-shirt with armpit hole) can be broken down into textile fibers that get reused in a lot of ways.

You're probably surrounded by broken down, recycled clothing right now: It could be in the stuffing in your couch, the insulation in your walls, and the padding under your carpet. When you donate clothing that can't be resold, this is often where it ends up.

Put clothing in the garbage? As if. GIF from "Clueless."

And, of course, buying less clothing to begin with is a great way to keep it from the landfill.

Bottom line: Recycling your clothes is a simple, effective way to be kind to the planet.

That's why lots of cities, including New York, have those big clothing donation bins in public places. Some cities and states are even trying to implement curbside textile recycling, so residents don't even have to drop off their clothes.

But even if your city doesn't have those options, donating your clothes is still important.

On Earth Day, in honor of our planet, you might want to take some time to go through your closet and take your old clothing to a donation site.

And if you're really looking to score some brownie points with planet Earth, round up your old clothes and offer to drop off your friends' bags at a donation location too!

Let's keep our awesome planet awesome.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

via Imgur

"Why does it sound like you're leaving?"

This article originally appeared on 05.25.19


In every relationship we'll ever have, there's going to be a final conversation. Before the digital age, these interactions were usually face-to-face or over the telephone and could only be recorded in our memories. But now, just about every relationship leaves a paper trail of text messages, social media interactions, and voice messages. Sometimes the final communication is a heated breakup, and other times, it's a casual interaction shortly before a person's death.

Now, there's a blog that collects these haunting final messages. The Last Message Received contains submissions of the last messages people received from ex-friends or ex-significant others as well as from deceased friends and relatives. Here are some of the blog's most haunting posts.

"My good friend's dad died around Thanksgiving. Two weeks later he drank himself to death."

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Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.