Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A new commodity: second hand clothes

Prices paid for second-hand clothes in the UK have tripled in the past five years, sparking a battle between charities, criminals, companies and local councils for the nation’s cast-offs.

It is an intersting development to new and 'emerging markets', especially when considering many developed nations export much of our recyling to LEDCs as they are more efficient at recycling.

As the FT states:

'The price rag dealers pay for used clothes has climbed from about £220 a tonne in 2007 to about £650 a tonne today, according to trade publication Demand has mushroomed since the European Union expanded eastward in the mid-2000s, creating accessible markets for winter clothing that rag dealers cannot sell in Africa. Sterling’s tumble has accelerated the trend. Charities say donations are falling in the face of new high street competition. “Clothing has always been seen as something charitable,” said Maria Chenoweth-Casey, chief executive of charity TRAID, which runs second-hand clothes shops. “Vintage clothing is dying . . . It’s sad to see it shipped out of the country without even being looked at.” Criminals are also drawn to the high prices. In 2008, when Ms Chenoweth-Casey noticed the “yield” of her charity’s textile banks dropping, she hid a tracker inside a bank and followed the signal to an industrial estate in Havering in North London. The stolen clothes were in a trailer bound for east Europe.