What Actually Happens To The Clothes We Give To Charity Shops?
A new BBC documentary says they don't end up in our local stores; they're exported to Africa.
You might think that all the clothes you take to your local charity shop are sold there, but according to a new documentary, This World: The Secret Life of Your Clothes, that's not the case.
In fact, charity shops can only sell a fraction of the clothes they receive. They pass them on to recycling businesses, which pay around £500 a ton for donated clothes. It's the first stage in a journey that can take our clothes thousands of miles.
The presenter, Ade Adepitan, follows the trail to Ghana, the biggest importer of our cast-offs. Over £1 million of our old clothes arrives here every week.
Adepitan meets the people who making a living from our old cast-offs, from wholesalers and market traders to the importers raking in a staggering £25,000 a day.
And he finds that this influx of cheap western clothes is destroying local clothing markets.
The deluge of our clothes isn’t just destroying jobs: it’s also had a seismic effect on Ghanaian culture.
Western outfits are fast replacing iconic West African prints and traditional garb.
Adepitan travels to remote villages to find everyone wearing British high-street brands like Dorothy Perkins, Marks & Spencer, and Next.
This World: The Secret Life of Your Clothes airs on BBC Two tonight at 9pm.