"At least 70% of donated garments end up in Africa, according to Oxfam, a British charity that also sells used, donated clothes to the continent". This was in the New York Times International Weekly, Oct 20, in an article about how various African countries are trying to phase out imports of second-hand clothing and shoes in favour of their own textile industries. Kenya had to give up its plan to ban imports of used clothing from the USA for fear of retaliation in the form of lost textile exports, according to the article. I've also seen comments on You Tube about how old clothes from the west are recycled in India -- boiled up and rewoven into cheap blankets that smell nasty and fall apart in months. The blankets go to refugees in camps. I thought it was a good thing to donate used clothing to charity shops, but it seems it's not so!
I have a family member who lives in East Africa, there are markets that sell clothes from Europe, where labels such as 'GAP' 'Next' 'Boden' etc. are sold. The market stall owners said they would buy bales of clothing from charities and then sell items in individually. This always annoyed me that clothing I may have donated could end up before going sold to the neediest and poorest people (who I had hoped would be given them for free)
As long as the items don't end up in landfill, I don't mind them going to Africa. They are sold rather than given away in Africa precisely so that local textile producers don't have unfair competition.
I've also seen comments on You Tube about how old clothes from the west are recycled in India -- boiled up and rewoven into cheap blankets that smell nasty and fall apart in months. The blankets go to refugees in camps.
I think recycling old clothes into blankets for refugee camps in an excellent use of unwanted resources. Alright it would be better if it were done to a higher standard, but blankets are desperately needed. What would a cost-effective alternative be?
So much disgusting waste. People need to get their act together when it comes to disposable fashions. I love clothes and fashion but it sickens me how many clothes people buy to leave sitting in their wardrobes only to throw away to charity.
I'm currently unpacking after a move and am taken aback at the amount of clothes I have, but some of them are older than my son, who is 22,, and are still in good nick. I still have my work clothes, and should I ever go back to work when I return to the UK, they are perfectly usable.