What Really Happens to Your Clothing Donations?. Let's just say they're not all going towards a good cause. The vast majority — 85 percent, or 12 million tons — of unused textiles are carted off directly to U.S. landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That's more than 7 percent of our national landfill waste. Putting your discarded clothing into the hands of for-profit recyclers is far, far better than stuffing them in the trash bin.