Sustainable Solutions for Used Clothing: The Case of Overflow Thrift Store in Ames
OVERFLOW is a local, privately owned thrift store in Ames, Iowa, that opened in July 2014. It is a non-profit organization that values the opportunity to provide not only a place for people to shop, but also a place for people to give and serve. Secondhand clothing is a major aspect of the business and it presents challenges regarding the ever-growing mass of unsellable donated clothing items. To help this business and similar small thrift stores to address this challenge, this study (1) examined best practices to deal with the excess of disposed textile-based products in the United States and other developed countries, and (2) identified the most sustainable and practical strategies for small thrift stores to dispose of unsellable textile-based products. These strategies will be proposed to OVERFLOW to help sustainably manage the excess of donated clothing and disseminated at conferences and other outlets to be used by other businesses.