Why people keep doing the one thing they shouldn't with old clothes.

Imagine this: You're walking through a mall or scrolling through your favorite fashion blog and then BOOM. You see it. The jeans you want — nay — need to have.

GIF via "María la del Barrio."

It doesn't matter that you just bought new jeans. These jeans are different. These jeans are the pair you've been wanting since, like, forever.


Sound familiar? It's a cycle that repeats itself with practically every article of clothing.

Here's the thing, though: What are you going to do with your old pair? The answer for many people is to throw it away.

Not donate to a charitable organization. Literally throw it away.

Image via iStock.

26 billion pounds of clothing goes to the landfill every year. That's 84% of all clothing and textile waste. Only the remaining 16% is actually donated.

But here's the kicker: The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) found that 95% of all worn or torn textiles can actually be reused or recycled!

So why aren't people donating these clothes?

Well, there are a lot of misconceptions around what can and can't be donated.

The main one being that people underestimate the potential of used clothes. In the 2017 State of Reuse Report commissioned by Savers, 62% of people who admitted to throwing clothes in the trash did so because they thought their stuff wasn't good enough to donate. (It probably was.)

Image via iStock.

In the same report, 75% thought torn or soiled clothes could not be recycled. In fact, they can! According to SMART, any kind of clothing can be repurposed or recycled as long as it isn't wet or contaminated with harmful substances such as paint or oil.

If more people knew that, would it make a difference? Well, in the same Savers report, 75% of respondents agreed with the following statement: "If I better understood how my actions hurt or helped the planet, I would be more likely to make environmentally conscious decisions."

Image via iStock.

There are many reasons why it's great (and easy) to donate old clothes. For one thing, it doesn't take as many resources to give those old clothes new life.

Remember those jeans from earlier? It can take more than 1,800 gallons of water to make one new pair. New cotton T-shirt? That can take up to 700 gallons of water — more than the average person drinks in five years. But if you donate an old pair of jeans or a cotton shirt for someone else to buy, that's less of a burden on the planet over time.

Image via iStock.

And that's just water savings! It takes nine pounds of fossil fuels to make one cotton shirt, so think of all the other resources that reusing saves, too.

All it takes is a little time and understanding to make a world of difference.

In fact, there are things you can do right now to lead the change. For starters, if you have clothes or other household items that you don't want anymore, don't throw them in the trash.

Instead, donate them at nearby donation centers, such as a local Savers thrift store, or donation bins in your community to give these items the second life they deserve and bring someone else joy.

Image via iStock.

Remember, donating benefits local charitable organizations and the very neighborhood you live in. In fact, your donations turn into funding that fuels these organizations’ missions. So by reusing and recycling locally, you're giving neighbors a chance to put great items to good use.

On top of that, spread the word with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to get as many people as possible following suit. That way, the next time someone clears out their closet, they'll remember the road their clothes took to get there — and how they can affect that cycle in a big way.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture