As we become more aware of the environment we live in and the impact that we have on it, as a generation we begin to understand just a little more about what an important and vital role recycling can, and should, be playing in our communities. When we understand how that recycling can also benefit those people in other communities, especially those less fortunate than us, then we can see just how important it is to look at changing the way in which we do certain things.
In many ways, recycling clothes is not a new phenomenon. Most of us probably grew up with a least a few hand me down garments – and in essence that is exactly how recycling clothes works. Whether you have fallen out of love with some of the items in your wardrobe, simply fancy a change or have lost or gained weight so have clothing that no longer fits, having a sort out and getting rid of these items that you no longer need can be very therapeutic. It can be tempting, especially if some of the items are dated or a little past their best to consider throwing them away, but don’t! They will be able to find a home with someone else.
Here at Community Recycling Initiative (CRI), we collect not only these types of clothing but indeed all types of clothing, and even other forms of textiles such as bedding and curtains for recycling. These are items that people simply do not want anymore and we recycle them in order to benefit those people who are living in more disadvantaged areas.
All the clothes that are donated are shipped to Eastern Europe – using partnerships we have formed after considerable research. Here all these second-hand clothing items are carefully processed and then sorted into bundles. These clothing bundles are then shipped off to disadvantaged areas where they are sold on in second-hand shops to people who really need them. Not only does this make clothing available in areas where there is little money to spare but it also creates valuable employment opportunities in these disadvantaged areas.
For many people in disadvantaged areas owning more than a couple of garments is a luxury that many can ill afford, this means that clothing is washed and mended until it is falling apart. Second-hand garments offer an affordable source of clothing that can make it possible for people to do a number of things, the type of things that we might take for granted such as going to school or going out to work, all opportunities that give them a chance to improve their lives. The shops that sell the second-hand garments also benefit, they offer valuable employment opportunities to local people, as well as putting money back into the community which benefits everyone.