Charities have been our de facto national textile recyclers going back to the early 20th century, and Goodwill started providing bins for clothing donations as early as the 1940s. But this system was set up in a pre-consumerist America, when we had neither a landfill crunch nor a waste crisis: Americans now buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980, according to Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain, a textile-recycling company. And between 1999 and 2009, the volume of textile trash rose by 40 percent. Particularly due to the advent of cheap, disposable clothing, charities have seen themselves transformed into dumps that accept clothes of varying condition in ever-increasing volumes.
[Jackie King, executive director of the Secondhand Materials and Recycled Textiles Association] says there is quite a lot of public misinformation about what exactly happens to clothing when it’s donated to charities. “People think when they are giving to, say, a Salvation Army or Goodwill, that all of that is going to be resold in their stores, and it’s just not, because they don’t have enough room for that,” she says. In fact, according to King, there’s only a 15 or 20 percent chance that a piece of clothing you’ve donated is being worn by someone in your community, as charities receive far too many donations to sell them all.
Instead, charities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army sell only what they can in their retail shops—typically less than 20 percent of what they receive. From there, they call for-profit textile recycling companies, like Viltex, who then buy up the leftover clothes by the pound and recycle them.
This may not make Jose Antonio Vargas feel better, but apparently TSA agents need some basic geography lessons.
WFTV Washington correspondent Justin Gray was flying back to DC from Orlando, Fla., when a TSA agent halted him for holding a license from a state he didn’t recognize, and asked him for his passport. Gray was confused: he didn’t bring his passport, because his District of Columbia driver’s license should have been sufficient. The agent insisted that he didn’t recognize it.
“At that point, I was a little confused, but then I realized what was going on,” he later told WFTV. “I said to him, ‘Do you not know what the District of Columbia is?’ After some back and forth, it became clear he didn’t.”
Is it just me, or does this seem a bit…overly precise to anyone? Can Mr. Harris really guarantee he isn’t selling only 6.9976 acres?
If we assume the plot is square in shape, 6.9977 acres is 552.1 feet on each side. A difference of 0.0001 acres is 4.356 square feet. Stretched over the length of one side, this makes a sliver 0.0079 feet—or 0.095 inches. Somehow I doubt Mr. Harris or his surveyor can hold a tape measure to under 1/10 of an inch across 552.1 feet.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a Fleshlight strapped to an iPad. And if you somehow had any doubts on what it’s for, the video ad gets the point across in blunt fashion (safe for work, but only as much as any Fleshlight ad can ever be).