September 1st, 2010

Clothing Collections

We get two or three leaflets a week asking us to put bags of used clothes on the curb for "charities" to collect. These collections are so frequent you'd think they'd have long since trawled the streets bare- but I suppose we're a society that is always buying new, always getting rid.  I put "charities" inside inverted commas because most of these outfits aren't charities at all. Read the small print on the leaflet I've got in front of me now and you see it's not really from The Tree of Hope children's charity but from a commercial business called SOS Clothes Ltd, which merely promises to give £2000 per month to The Tree of Hope.

Once in a while we have a big clear-out and then we'll put out a bag. We put one out yesterday for The Air Ambulances- or their agents. They said they'd collect between 8 and 3, but the bag was still there in the evening. We decided to leave it overnight and by morning someone had snapped it up- possibly SOS Clothes, possibly some other band of businessmen. We'll never know.

But at least it was off our hands. Besides, as Odi has told us, the clothes that are harvested in this way- no matter by whom- all end up in the markets of the Third World, where they are sold for very little to people like her who are happy to have them. OK, so the business isn't quite as selfless as the people who run it would have us believe- but stuff is being recycled (which is good, yes?) and there are satisfied punters at either end of the chain.