Friday, September 2, 2016

Used Clothing


That's a dying blackberry leaf on Hampstead Heath. Isn't it funny how, beneath the green chlorophyll, a blackberry bush contains all this purple pigment? I guess it makes sense for a plant with such purple berries. And yet, other parts of the leaf are so pale.

Speaking of leaves, our venus flytrap finally gave up the ghost. Apparently being repeatedly dragged around the yard and urinated on by a fox just wasn't survivable. Oh well -- it lived longer than I ever expected it to when I bought it for Dave more than a year ago.

This morning I read a fascinating article in Newsweek (yes, it still exists!) about the problem of discarded clothing. I've always wondered how charity shops cope with the avalanche of used clothing they receive. (If you've ever had a glimpse into the back rooms of some of these shops, you know what I'm talking about -- towering piles of donations, as close to mountains as they can be in such a small space.) I'm a Goodwill and Oxfam enthusiast, as you know, but it turns out charity shops sell only about 20 percent of those donations. The rest goes into a clothing waste stream that sees it baled up and sent overseas to second-hand markets, or torn up for rags used in auto shops, or turned into carpet padding or floor mats for cars. The problem nowadays, according to the article, is "fast fashion," which produces lower-quality clothing that isn't as suitable for second-hand use. In short, it's an environmental mess.

(As I read the article, I thought of the clothes I salvaged from our neighbor's trash a couple of years ago and took to Oxfam. I wonder how much of that was suitable for resale? Our then-neighbors, a young couple, were likely consumers of "fast fashion.")

I, on the other hand, tend to hold onto my clothes for a long, long time. Probably too long.

Today is the day of our beginning-of-school student assembly, where the faculty/staff choir sings. Hopefully we won't make a hash of it, and the kids will remember the message of the song while evaluating our performance: All you need is love!

11 comments:

e said...

and no hurricanes or water or flooded streets...the kids will love it. Have fun!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

As you know, I work in an Oxfam shop. We receive a lot of old clothing that is unsuitable for sale. Discarded clothing is currently bought by a dealer and shipped to eastern Europe for market sales. Of course the dealer's payments are added to Oxfam's coffers so this money helps to support worthwhile projects in other countries... "Love is all you need" and funds of course.

ellen abbott said...

yep. I've seen those bales of clothes outside a resale shop I used to frequent when I lived in the city.

Red said...

The same thing with clothing happens here. Homeless guys get clothes and because they can't wash it they garbage the clothes when they get more from a clothing bank.

shoreacres said...

When I lived in Liberia, one of the most frustrating things was seeing clothing being sold on the streets of Monrovia that had been sent by churches and other charitable groups for free distribution. It was stolen in the port, and then sold -- with the appropriate kickback to the port supervisors who let it "walk" in the first place.

jenny_o said...

I try to buy used and wear it forever; then I turn it into stuffing for crafts. If something isn't being worn, I donate it back to charity. I need to weed out some things right now, actually :)

Sharon Anck said...

Here I am saying "good luck" on the performance but, most likely it's already happened as I type this. I hope it was great.
I once read the story of a man who was traveling in Africa and saw a young man wearing a shirt that looked familiar to him. Upon closer look, he discovered it was in fact, his shirt that he had given to a charity years before. It actually had his name on the back.

John Gray said...

Reminded me that autumn is almost back

Ms. Moon said...

I've got three bags of clothes in the back of my car right now to donate.
I hope they're usable.
Love the blackberry leaf.

The Bug said...

We just got rid of a BUNCH of clothing - the Vietnam Veterans come around & pick it up so I don't even have to take it anywhere. Most of the stuff we gave away is in fairly good condition.

Just yesterday I was looking at the shirt I was wearing & wondering if it was going to just disintegrate the next time I wash it. Ha! But it's my favorite shirt!

37paddington said...

Fascinating about the clothing. youve got me thinking about the rampant consumerism in our world. I've always had a tendency to rotate just a few pieces of clothing, even as a teen. Too many choices gives me decision fatigue. I envy that monks know just what they're wearing every day. Is that weird?