A reason not to buy in charity shops can be found on the Woven website about the second hand clothing trade in AFRICA

The following has been taken from the website

Africa is the fastest growing population center in the world. It currently has 1.1 billion people. That numbers nearly quadruples to 4.1billion by 2100.
The continent has the highest unemployment rates in the world in spite of having six of the worlds fastest growing economies.

“Probably 90% of the clothing people are buying in the whole country are second-hand clothes.” Sylvia Owori, Ugandan fashion designer.

Everyday before sunrise vendors line up to get first dibs on the huge pallets of compressed clothes as they come off trucks. They have absolutely no idea what’s inside.

How much do you think someone living in Africa (the poorest continent on Earth) pays for a pair of second-hand jeans?
Places where over 80% of people make less than $2 a day (the UN global poverty benchmark). $1? $2? $3, more than a days wage? Guess again:
$5 to $7. Over two or three times what they earn in a day. But wait, there’s more.
All but a fraction of that money leaves the continent. Why? Because vendors purchase these bundles from international “clothing recyclers” that buy 97% the clothes you and I donate to charities like Goodwill, The Salvation Army and The Cancer Society. Vendors in the developing world pay up to a 1,000% markup for bundled clothes, lining these international companies pockets with huge profits–$3 billion a year huge–and none of that money supports the causes we thought we were.

This isn’t to blame the charities we donated to. In all honesty they do their best and if they could sell more donated clothes locally they would–they’d make more money that way. The truth is people don’t want to buy second-hand clothes in the developed world and charities that accept clothes have no other choice but to sell clothes they can’t sell locally to clothing recyclers.]


The impact is devastating:  50% loss in jobs and a 40% decline in industry over two decades.
Textile and clothing employment along with other support work offer valuable entry level jobs in fledgling economies. Ghana and Nigeria are among the hardest hit losing 80% and over 95% of their textile employment respectively.


Most people understand what’s happening on the production side of the textile industry (i.e. sweatshops, etc) but few realize what’s happens to their clothes at the end of life when they donate them and they think they are doing some good.
Before I started looking into this I thought that clothes I donated were helping people in my local community by providing affordable clothes to less fortunate families. I was shocked to learn that only 3% of the clothes donated are ever resold locally. That’s three items for every 100 donated.
I was even more shocked to hear that the nonprofit I donate my clothes to only earns between $0.10 and $0.25 per pound. That’s about $0.20 to $0.50 for a pair of jeans.

More posts on this subject here 


10 thoughts on “Charity Shop Issues

  1. i will check it out. In the meantime we are discussing Clothing Poverty over on Twitter #susbc

  2. Kate, you’ll be happy to know we’re launching a clothing donation service. Check out

    Now anyone in the US can donate their clothes in less than 1 minute and only 1 click. It’s that easy.

    Hope you’ll help us spread the word.

  3. It’s not mine but copied. Do check out the original site. He really has gone into it. 347,000 tonnes a year!!!!!!! Who has that many clothes? Thanks for dropping by!

  4. This is really interesting. I didn’t realise just how much is passed on from charity shops to textile merchants (I just had a quick look at the Charity Retail Association website and they say 347,000 tonnes per year). I’ve always avoided donating to those doorstep bag schemes that aren’t charities but didn’t realise charity shops took part in this too. Thank you for a really thought provoking piece

  5. Thank you for. This information……I didn’t know.any of this stuff ……more problems to try and solve over buying and disposing of textiles….

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