[GRRN] more on shoes

Brenda Platt (bplatt@ilsr.org)
Tue, 30 Nov 1999 11:31:06 +0000


Textile recycling facilities (formerly known as rag sorters) typically
ship old clothing and shoes to less developed countries. Africa and
Latin America (and more recently Eastern Europe) are the largest
recipients. Also, sometimes charities partner with textile recyclers
to take items they cannot use. Folks often get rid of winter clothes in
the spring, and summer clothes in the winter. Charities serving the
needy cannot use these items and do not have the storage space to keep
them on hand when the seasons change. Enter textile recyclers, who will
accept off-season clothes year-round. Before partnering with textile
recyclers, many charities actually threw away items they couldn't use.

I have heard that Goodwill and Salvation Army are doing their own baling
and shipping to markets abroad (which threatens the existing for-profit
family-based textile recyclers).

So, all this to say, that if you give your old running shoes to a local
charity or directly to a textile recycler, they may end up in Africa on
the feet of people who otherwise would be going barefoot. You might
want to call one or more local charities and see what arrangements they
have for items their clients cannot use.


Brenda A. Platt
Director, Materials Recovery
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
2425 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Ph (202) 232-4108 fax (202) 332-0463
Web: <http://www.ilsr.org>