The clothes you donate to a thrift store may not end up on the back of someone in need. More often than not, clothes that sit on the shelf for too long are donated to companies like Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles, or SMART. The companies then sort the clothes based on quality, and reuse them in the following ways:
- 45% is re-used as apparel, these items are processed into large bales of clothing, which are then exported to nations where there’s a demand for clothing.
- 30% is cut into rags and clothes.
- 20% is reprocessed into basic fiber content used to create furniture stuffing, carpet padding and various other products.
- 5% is unusable.
At Hidden Treasures Thrift Store in Chandler, AZ, it takes a volunteer staff of 64 to sort and organize donations.