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What happens to your clothes when you give them to charity?

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

18th March is #GlobalRecyclingDay, a good occasion for me to share with you something that has been bothering me for a while now.

Few weeks ago, a friend shared with me an Instagram post. It blew my mind and it took me a while to go over it. I wanted to know more on the subject and I did not have to dig too far to find some answers...

Here is the post:

Like many of you, I genuinely though that by given my "old" clothes to charity, I was contributing to save the planet and doing a goodwill... Well... NOT AT ALL :( By given to charity, I just buy myself a good conscience for something that I should not have done in the first place: Buying clothes I won't wear.

When I was researching, I found few interesting videos that are easier to understand than an essay on the matter. Here we go:

So this is obviously true. Only 10% of the clothes we give to charity are going to shops and the rest is send overseas and is basically pollution here or there. And this is without even thinking of the pollution already generated to make the clothes in the first place : (

> So what can we do about it?

1) Buy less. Only buy what you need and make sure you'll wear the outfit you buy

2) Be attentive to the fabric. Buy 100% organic or natural fiber and try to avoid polyester... If you look at a pair of jeans for example, some are 100% cotton and some contain chemicals as elastane or polyester.

3) Shop second hand. It is now easy to find some good quality second hand clothing. You have apps or market places like Facebook market, charity shops or even some specialised online shops (like us).

4) Wash less and lower temperature. It will save energy and water and also will damage your clothes less.

5) Before you go shopping, do a quick research online about the shop that interest you. Just tap "Is xxxx sustainable?" and try to go for the one who is

6) Did you know you can bring unwanted clothes (from any brand) to H&M ? Clothes that are not wearable anymore will be transformed into new products.

> How is a part of the solution?

  • We value your baby & toddler's preloved clothes by offering you money for them. (We still accept donation ;) )

  • We offer preloved clothes a second or even a third life by reselling them at a fair price.

  • We encourage circular economy in ROI and, doing so try to slow down fast fashion

  • When clothes don't pass our quality check but are still wearable, we give them to an Irish Non Lucrative Association who distributes them FOR FREE to families in need.

  • We give the clothes that are overused or not anymore wearable to H&M for the fabric to be transformed and reuse to make new products

So, when you send us clothes, you know exactly what will happen to them and where they will end.

There is no need to feel guilty or to fall into extreme behavior, but I though it was important to share with you these information because when I or You give to charity, you do it in a goodwill and sure to do the right thing. Unfortunately, we consume so many clothes that it's not the case anymore. By being conscious of the reality, we can adapt our habits little by little, one thing at a time and if we all do so, we might be able to change things on the long term.

If you want to dig further in the matter there is an Irish blog I like around more sustainable lifestyle . She recently wrote and shared an article: "Sustainable Ethical Kids Clothes 2021"

PS: This article is in no way sponsored by any brand. I only share my own understanding of the problem because I feel concerned.

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