Clothing waste

Other Names:
Wasted clothes
Discarded wearable apparel

The fashion industry has nurtured people's desire for new clothes to the point that trends shift weekly. These rapidly changing trends naturally result in more clothing being discarded, ultimately clogging up landfills.  According to one British fashion company, many customers only keep new clothing for about five weeks before it ends up being donated or thrown out whereas industry experts say a piece of clothing should last at least three years on average.


In 2017, the average woman in the U.S. owns 30 different outfits, as compared to the nine she owned in 1930; approximately 30 kilograms of clothing per person are thrown away each year. Estimates are the average family in the U.S. spends $1,700 per person each year on clothing and 93 percent of girls say shopping is their favorite activity.

Waste from the textile industry begins at the factory, where up to 12 million pieces may be discarded in one year from one factory.  12.8 million tonnes of textiles are landfilled every year in the USA.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates the amount of clothing recycled is equivalent to taking 1 million cars off the road each year.

Millions of polyester graduation gowns end up in landfills each year in the USA.

Related Problems:
Long-term shortage of clothing
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
17.10.2021 – 10:05 CEST