As Newsweek reported in a 2016 article, “when natural fibers, like cotton, linen and silk, or semi-synthetic fibers created from plant-based cellulose, like rayon, Tencel and modal, are buried in a landfill, in one sense they act like food waste, producing the potent greenhouse gas methane as they degrade.”

Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans disposed of 10.5 million tons of textiles in 2015, a number that continues to grow each year. Whether it’s data from 1960, 2015 or 2019, the amount of textiles in a landfill are more than actually necessary.

“Donating and swapping your gently used clothes, as well as shopping from used clothing stores, can be a great way to help divert these textiles from the landfill,” said MU Sustainability’s Program Assistant Ashley Craft. “To help do our part, MU Sustainability is holding our seasonal clothing swap at the MU Women’s Center on March 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on March 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.”

MU Sustainability asks that all donations are clean and gently used. They will accept junior and adult-sized shirts, pants, skirts, dresses, blouses, shoes, coats, jackets, athletic wear and scarfs. No undergarments and socks.

Additionally, this will be the first year the event is open campus-wide.

“We wanted to offer the students, staff and faculty an opportunity to come together and recycle their clothes, visit with one another and even make some new connections,” Craft said. “A portion of our office operates on the $1.14 student fee, so we’re always looking for new and innovative ways for our students to lead more sustainable lives.”

Craft explained that individuals interested in participating in this year’s clothing swap have three ways to do so. Last week student clubs/organizations gathered clothing in advance of the event kept track of their donations via an excel spreadsheet listed on MU Sustainability’s website. Sustain Mizzou donated the largest amount of clothes with a total of 127 pieces, giving them the option to swap before the doors even open. 

Second, individuals can bring clothing items to the MU Women’s Center during the designated swap times. Student employees and volunteers will make sure the items are clean and gently worn. Then they will write down how many clothes each individual has, giving them a ticket to choose that same exact amount or less from the event.

Lastly, if individuals are cleaning out their closets and love the extra space, not wanting to add more to their pile they can donate but not participate. Call the MU Sustainability Office for more information at 573-882-8207. The ability to collect clothes prior to the event will vary on space and availability.

“We look forward to everyone coming out and supporting such a great cause,” Craft said. “As we look toward the future, we hope to only continue to expand our clothing swap efforts.”