|Last Saturday, 52 American cities and 10 international cities participated in Uber and Goodwill’s “Spring Cleaning” initiative, donating millions of pounds of clothing with the touch of a button.
The Christian Science Monitor reports that on May 2nd, Uber users were able to donate their used clothing by clicking a “GIVE” button found on the mobile app. The transportation app featured the button for one day only, partnering with the charitable organization Goodwill to take the used clothing free of charge.
Users who clicked on the button summoned an Uber driver to pick up their lightly used clothing and donate it to the nearest Goodwill at no cost to the customer.
New York, Orange County, Kansas City, and Tuscon were just a few of the more than 50 cities able to participate in the donation event. Foreign cities such as Dubai, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and Utrecht participated as well.
This is not the first clothing donation drive of its kind. Last year, Uber and Goodwill had a similar spring cleaning campaign in New York and two more cleaning campaigns in Boston and San Francisco last fall.
“Both Uber and Goodwill strive to make a meaningful impact on local communities, and we are thrilled to once again team up with Goodwill to make donating fast and easy for Uber users,” said David Plouffe, Uber’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy. “Those who participate in this campaign are not only checking something off their to-do list, but supporting Goodwill and its mission to strengthen communities by providing job placement and training for people in need.”
Clothing drives such as this are important, considering the stupendous waste of textiles that occurs every year. According to The Atlantic, average clothing purchases in the United States increased nearly five times since 1980. From 1999 to 2009, textile waste grew by 40%. More than 10.5 million tons of textiles are discarded in landfills every year, as Americans recycle or donate just 15% of their used clothing. Moreover, only about one-eighth of reusable textiles was recycled last year.
“This innovative and exciting partnership demonstrates Uber’s commitment to local communities on a national and international scale,” said Kim Zimmer, Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Global Development at Goodwill.
“This collaboration has made Spring cleaning and donating an easy task, while ensuring that their clothing is not only diverted from landfills, but also goes toward supporting efforts to put people back to work,” she said.
Much of the clothing will go to the homeless and poverty-stricken in the U.S. and abroad. The U.S. has a serious homelessness problem, with more than 600,000 homeless people on any given night, according to a report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There are considerably more people who live indoors but suffer from extreme poverty. Philadelphia alone, for example, has 440,000 residents living under the federal poverty line.