Waste Not, Want Not: Value Village Takes Over Alki Beach for Earth Day

Visit an "educational clothing spill" at Alki for inspiration to reduce, reuse, recycle

The Value Village "educational clothing spill" will take over 2,000 square feet of Alki Beach for Earth Day 2016. | Photo credit: Value Village

This Earth Day, Value Village is taking the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” to the extreme. The global retailer is hosting an educational clothing spill along Alki Beach. What’s an “educational clothing spill,” exactly? Think of your tween’s messy bedroom times 10. 

Artists Stefan Hofmann and Taylor Reed prepare part ofthe educational clothing spill installation for Earth Day 2016. | Photo credit: Value Village

The 2,000-square-foot art installation will feature clothing that Value Village would normally sell; the idea is to invoke an oil spill “so visitors understand that throwing away clothing has an impact like any other waste spill,” says Value Village vice president of recycling and reuse Tony Shumpert.

Visitors can walk through the installation from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 22 (aka Earth Day). Early birds can grab a sneak peek the day before; the installation opens at 9 a.m. Thursday, April 21 (though best to come later in the day for optimal viewing).

So why clothing specifically? It’s one of the biggest drains on our natural resources. In North America, over 10.5 million tons of clothing goes to landfills every year; 95 percent of that could be recycled or reused, says Shumpert.

All that waste adds up, particularly when it can take 700 gallons of water to make one cotton T-shirt — more water than one person drinks in five years, says Shumpert. A pair of jeans takes 2,900 gallons, according to water conservation resource Water Print.

Value Village’s educational clothing spill isn’t meant to scare the pants off people, but to motivate us all to recycle and reuse.

“Every pair of jeans or a T-shirt we can reuse or buy used instead of new helps mitigate the flow of clothing that gets thrown away,” says Shumpert.

Donating clothing and textiles is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint, he adds. Value Village, which accepts clothing donations on behalf of nonprofit organizations, diverted more than 45 million pounds of clothing, textiles and other items from Washington state landfills in 2015. Now there’s something to celebrate this Earth Day.

If you go…

What: Value Village’s educational clothing spill

When: Friday, April 22, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, April 22 (installation starts Thursday, April 21 at 9 a.m. and is open to the public)

Where: Alki Beach, 1702 Alki Ave. S.W., Seattle 

Prices: Free

Information: Visit the event’s Facebook page

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