Making a difference
Many people today want to do good, but often do not know what they can do. But it is very easy to start with your own wardrobe. Sorting out a few old clothes and doing good with them is a great way to become involved in a sustainable and charitable way. Every garment given to charities can support social projects and programs.
Which collections should I avoid?
The bag with the clothes is packed, but where to put them? In many cases, the image of collecting old clothes has fallen into disrepute. This is due to partly illegal old clothes containers, deception by commercial collectors or even freely invented club names. Owners of commercial collection containers simply sell the clothes on and profit from them, sometimes illegally. It is therefore important to be attentive when choosing a container, and to check labels and contact details carefully.
Getting the right clothes on the right track
In any case, well-preserved and clean textiles in the form of shoes, bed linen, cloth tablecloths, hats and caps, as well as accessories are particularly sought after. Soiled or damaged clothing, as well as carpets, furniture upholstery or electrical appliances do not belong in the clothing collection.
There are several ways to get your clothing donation on the right track. If the clothes are to be used to support social causes, the FairWertung symbol is a good place to start. Local clothing stores and social department stores run by non-profit organisations also bring the donations directly to people who can hardly afford clothes.
Stations of a charitable clothing donation
Often textiles from collection containers, front door collections or surpluses from clothing stores - also non-profit organisations - are sold unsorted to textile recyclers. The reason for this is that the amount of old clothes collected in Germany is higher than the demand in this country. Through the resale, proceeds can be generated for charitable purposes.
Buyers are textile sorting companies, in which the recyclability of the textiles is checked. Approximately half of the items are damaged and are sold on to recycling companies, which recycle the materials in the form of cleaning cloths, painter's fleece or car interiors. The other half of the well-preserved items of clothing are resold as second-hand clothing. A large proportion of the clothing comes to Eastern Europe and Africa. There it offers poor people the best opportunity to obtain good and fashionable clothing at a reasonable price.
Can donations of used clothing damage the textile industry in Third World countries?
The import of second-hand clothes to e.g. Africa has not been proven to cause any damage to the textile industry. FairWertung has even launched its own study "Dialogue Programme Africa" to exclude the collection of used clothing as an indicator of the decline in textile production. Reasons such as difficult location conditions, high energy costs or lack of capital are more likely to be responsible for the decline in clothing production.
Not only donations - creating awareness
Any kind of donations of old clothes or second-hand clothes, which prolongs the lifetime of textiles, can make a positive contribution. The large quantities of textiles of inferior quality lead to shorter and shorter wearing times, which means that they can no longer be used as Second-Hand clothes. A sharper awareness of the purchase, the wearing of clothes, up to the recycling in the form of donations benefits both nature and humanity in any case.