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SarahBell

How Charity Messes Things Up

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http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/waste_not/kelsey_halling/not_so_fast_fashion_african_countries_ban_secondhand_clothin

. Once again, we see unintended consequences of well-meaning foreign aid. In Uganda, for example, it is estimated that secondhand garments make up 81 percent of all clothing purchases - leaving little market share for locally produced apparel. Kenya had a clothing industry that at its height employed 500,000 people, and today only sustains roughly 20,000 jobs. Even if enacted, the ban won’t necessarily spur local apparel production; the ban does not include inexpensive new clothing, which could be easily imported by traders from Asia.

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This bit initially made my jaw drop, and then I thought that it's probably not strictly true. This is on a par with "people in the UK" wasting a third of their food. Which when properly looked at turned out to be mostly supermarkets throwing it away or rejecting it because it didn't meet their perceived consumer standards.

What interests me more is the implications this ban would have on the donating Western countries: If rich countries could no longer offload our unwanted discarded clothing onto the poor, what would we do with those clothes?

Uganda imports 1,500 tons (tons!) of used clothing each year from the US alone; that is just one of many countries to which we export used clothing. The average American throws away 70 lbs of clothing every year.

So fashion trends that don't take off, small sizes that don't sell (those shoe stores in markets don't get to choose their sizes but get a set range, so for men's shoes end up with the 8 - 10 selling out and being left with loads of 6 / 7 which they sell off cheaply if they can).

I've only known two people who may have approached this five stone of clothing each year. Both liked clothes shopping, both had fluctuating weights, both bought cheaper stuff not worrying whether it would last as they would be replacing it anyway. They filled several bin bags for the charity store each year. A man and a woman. They should have got together.

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This bit initially made my jaw drop, and then I thought that it's probably not strictly true. This is on a par with "people in the UK" wasting a third of their food. Which when properly looked at turned out to be mostly supermarkets throwing it away or rejecting it because it didn't meet their perceived consumer standards.

So fashion trends that don't take off, small sizes that don't sell (those shoe stores in markets don't get to choose their sizes but get a set range, so for men's shoes end up with the 8 - 10 selling out and being left with loads of 6 / 7 which they sell off cheaply if they can).

I've only known two people who may have approached this five stone of clothing each year. Both liked clothes shopping, both had fluctuating weights, both bought cheaper stuff not worrying whether it would last as they would be replacing it anyway. They filled several bin bags for the charity store each year. A man and a woman. They should have got together.

I think you need to look at the number of charity shops in the UK, the amount of donations they get to know that the UK also 'throws' away an awful lot of clothing every year.

At the scout jumble (and charity shop) a surprising amount of stuff still has tags on and has never been worn.

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Whenever a charity "collector" knocks on my door asking for 20p and all my data so they can sell it on, I offer to volunteer in my spare time. Not one has ever accepted my offer and most seem confused and don't know how to deal with it. These are all paid employees, mostly on commission... it's sick.

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I think you need to look at the number of charity shops in the UK, the amount of donations they get to know that the UK also 'throws' away an awful lot of clothing every year.

At the scout jumble (and charity shop) a surprising amount of stuff still has tags on and has never been worn.

I know, and I think it is all just the two people I mentioned!

I do wander into charity shops from time to time and find their clothes' pricing to be useless. I buy £50 business shirts, as new, for about £5 but they have lots of Primark / Tesco type shirts for a smilar price when you can almost buy them new for that. I can't believe that anybody buys them so they take up rack space for a year and then get the old heave ho.

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I know, and I think it is all just the two people I mentioned!

I do wander into charity shops from time to time and find their clothes' pricing to be useless. I buy £50 business shirts, as new, for about £5 but they have lots of Primark / Tesco type shirts for a smilar price when you can almost buy them new for that. I can't believe that anybody buys them so they take up rack space for a year and then get the old heave ho.

Yes pricing primark stuff at silly prices is madness. I have seen it too.

We do need rich people to buy clothes they are never going to wear to keep some of us in 'new' clothes. :)

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Yes pricing primark stuff at silly prices is madness. I have seen it too.

We do need rich people to buy clothes they are never going to wear to keep some of us in 'new' clothes. :)

It's getting like cars!

Maybe we will see people having lease clothes for three years.

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I think you need to look at the number of charity shops in the UK, the amount of donations they get to know that the UK also 'throws' away an awful lot of clothing every year.

At the scout jumble (and charity shop) a surprising amount of stuff still has tags on and has never been worn.

We are talking 90% women's clothes, a shame really because men don't get the same access to unworn clothes going cheap.

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We are talking 90% women's clothes, a shame really because men don't get the same access to unworn clothes going cheap.

More like 70% in my experience. If more men bought there then it would up the percentage dedicated to men.

Women will also have more occasional wear clothes (and more clothes in general) so will buy special looking clothes (new and second hand) but not wear them too often so they last for ages. Compare with most men's shirt and trousers ensemble worn until holes appear at which point the charity shop won't try to sell it.

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We are talking 90% women's clothes, a shame really because men don't get the same access to unworn clothes going cheap.

The mens side is always less than the womens at the jumble.

Still a huge amount of stuff.

The mens always seems to be huge weight loss/death... I suspect men wear their clothes until they are worn out. Which is what I do.

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I do however like the idea of putting thought into what you wear and more women than men do this. I used to (early 20s) be very concerned about what I wore and looked great as a consequence. I have since fallen the way most men do into a "that'll do" approach. Which whilst remaining above the vest / jogging bottoms combo of the pub "athlete" it still falls far short of what they could look like. One guy I worked with wore fitted shirts and he did look really good, he got compliments from women fairly often.

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I do however like the idea of putting thought into what you wear and more women than men do this. I used to (early 20s) be very concerned about what I wore and looked great as a consequence. I have since fallen the way most men do into a "that'll do" approach. Which whilst remaining above the vest / jogging bottoms combo of the pub "athlete" it still falls far short of what they could look like. One guy I worked with wore fitted shirts and he did look really good, he got compliments from women fairly often.

I'm slightly embarrassed reading that whilst sat in Toby Carvery in a T-shirt, Adidas trackies and flip-flops.

In my defence I'm on my way to the airport to go on holiday and I always dress down as far as I dare to travel.

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The other side of this is that giving all your old stuff to charity legitimises (in people's heads) the process of buying more stuff. If you forced people to take a pair of scissors to their old clothes then they would buy less stuff and throw less away. This would, however, be no good, as the UK economy depends on people consuming everything in vast quantities.

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I'm slightly embarrassed reading that whilst sat in Toby Carvery in a T-shirt, Adidas trackies and flip-flops.

In my defence I'm on my way to the airport to go on holiday and I always dress down as far as I dare to travel.

:D

Holidays are different!

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The other side of this is that giving all your old stuff to charity legitimises (in people's heads) the process of buying more stuff. If you forced people to take a pair of scissors to their old clothes then they would buy less stuff and throw less away. This would, however, be no good, as the UK economy depends on people consuming everything in vast quantities.

Just as the economies in the article rely on people buying local.

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Yes pricing primark stuff at silly prices is madness. I have seen it too.

We do need rich people to buy clothes they are never going to wear to keep some of us in 'new' clothes. :)

:rolleyes: ..........one man's trash/waste is another mans treasure/lifeline.

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More like 70% in my experience. If more men bought there then it would up the percentage dedicated to men.

Women will also have more occasional wear clothes (and more clothes in general) so will buy special looking clothes (new and second hand) but not wear them too often so they last for ages. Compare with most men's shirt and trousers ensemble worn until holes appear at which point the charity shop won't try to sell it.

I occasionally get to find a nice overcoat or jacket in the local charity shops. I'll not be buying underpants or shoes there. :blink:

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I occasionally get to find a nice overcoat or jacket in the local charity shops. I'll not be buying underpants or shoes there. :blink:

I've not seen underpants there so I don't think you're alone.

Shoes I would, if I saw a really decent pair of Oxfords or (at a push) brogues.

Maybe even some Chelsea boots if I was feeling brave.

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I occasionally get to find a nice overcoat or jacket in the local charity shops. I'll not be buying underpants or shoes there. :blink:

Yeah, but that's only true 'cos they don't actually sell piss-stained nylon Y-fronts and Showaddywaddy's surplus "brothel-creepers"...

;)

XYY

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Yeah, but that's only true 'cos they don't actually sell piss-stained nylon Y-fronts and Showaddywaddy's surplus "brothel-creepers"...

;)

XYY

I imagine you think I am a "gentleman of style". :wacko:

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I was in Zambia in the 90s. A ship load of Italian rice was in the indian ocean, and some EU nitwit decided to donate the rice to Zambia.

Rice is a minor crop in Zambia, but important for a small area in northern province. The arrival of 20,000 tons of free rice just before harvest was devastating to the small scale farmers.

It took years of foreign aid to develop the rice growing industry, wiped out in one season.

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I was in Zambia in the 90s. A ship load of Italian rice was in the indian ocean, and some EU nitwit decided to donate the rice to Zambia.

Rice is a minor crop in Zambia, but important for a small area in northern province. The arrival of 20,000 tons of free rice just before harvest was devastating to the small scale farmers.

It took years of foreign aid to develop the rice growing industry, wiped out in one season.

That's an interesting story of where percieved kindness goes wrong.

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That's an interesting story of where percieved kindness goes wrong.

Yep....people make money from needy people....take away the need and people won't buy it. ;)

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