Hello. I've been having a sort through of my clothes, some of them have seen better days so I think it would be a good idea to move them on. I can recycle some of them myself by using them in sewing projects, I've now got two pairs of pants stitched into the landscape picture, ha ha. The charity shop can have some of them, but I am a bit reluctant to pass them anything that they can't sell in their shop. Some fabrics work well as cleaning cloths, dish cloths, and dusters, but what to do with the rest? I thought anything that is unusable for any other purpose would automatically be dumped in a hole in the ground, until I saw an article on the BBC website, 'Where do your old clothes go?'
The story goes that charity shops only sell a proportion of the donated clothes in their shops, the rest they sell for export. The Charity Retail Association says that 90% of garments handed over go on the racks in the shop, but Dr Andrew Brooks argues that many donors don't realize that the majority of the cast offs they hand over will be traded abroad. The Waste and Resources Action Programme which is a government agency working to reduce waste, estimates that 70% of used clothing is sent overseas. The UK is the second largest exporter behind the US.
Most people believe that what they give to the charity shop will be sold there, that isn't the case. I remember seeing a lorry loading up with bags of clothes being brought out of the front door of a charity shop. I asked the driver what was happening. He told me they will get sorted, and baled, then exported in a container to the other side of the world.
Some people might feel that their donations shouldn't be used in this way, turned into a commodity that can be bought and sold several times, each trader making a profit on the deal. The charity shops sell them on and they are passed on down the line. If you look at the article and click on the films, you can see that the end users are people who have very little in the way of personal possessions, and those doing the buying and selling are able to make an income for themselves and their families.
We in the western world have got far too much, it makes sense to pass things on to those who need it, wherever they are in the world. I don't care if my clothes end up in Ghana, or Kenya, or Pakistan, or even cut up and sold as rags, as long as they are useful to somebody.
I hope the BBC link works for everyone, it's an interesting and informative article with links to other related sites. So the moral is, don't be picky about which of your clothes the charity shop will take, they can make money on all of them. You don't even have to take them to a shop, you can use the bags and they will be collected, or you can put them in one of the hundreds of clothes banks found in car parks. My council leave us bags to use and they are collected with the bins. This is something I feel passionate about, we should not be throwing anything away if someone else can make use of it. Do your bit and recycle.
Thanks for popping in.