So, charity shops send the stuff they can’t sell off to Africa etc. OK. But the volume might not be quite this much:
Fifteen million pieces of discarded clothing arrive in vast bales every week at Kantamanto, the biggest bazaar in Ghana, where a glut of cast-offs chokes rivers, wasteground and landfill sites.
Times subs might want to check that number.
For example, and this is rather rough, 3,000 t-shirts to a pallet, 20 pallets to a 40 ft container (no double stacking). Used goods are unlikely to be that tightly packed but still, at least an idea.
60,000 t-shirts to a container. 15 million pieces is 250 containers? A week? I think that’s rather unlikely, running through the one wholesale market in Ghana? 40 odd 40 ft containers a working day?
Well, could be, but it’s a number I’d check I think.
And if it’s true of course think how many Africans are gaining their clothing for cheap, raising their real incomes!
And there’s definitely something funny with these numbers. We’re told:
According to the UN, the UK is the world’s second largest exporter of second-hand clothes. In 2018, £419 million worth were sold overseas,
The rest are sold on to used clothing dealers or recycling companies, which give the charities about 45p per kilo.
Packed in bundles weighing between 50 and 90kg, the clothes are then shipped to Ghana and elsewhere,
OK. Now, the impression there at least is given that those bundles amount to £419 million’s worth. At 45 p per kg. For ease of calculation call that 50p per kg, £500 per tonne. 838,000 tonnes a year of used clothing? 130 kg per man, boy and bird in the country? Don’t think so somehow, the UK really isn’t exporting that much.
As to the solution if it is, there’s energy in cotton, wool, plastics. Build an incinerator producing electricity next to the market and pay a penny a pound or whatever for scraps delivered to it.