The lucrative used clothing business Where does the clothes go that are left in the “solidarity” containers?

Where does the used clothing that we throw in the ‘solidarity’ containers go? Solidarity, or easy money?

“Help us to help”, ” Cooperation and development aid “, “For a better world”, “A little yours ago a long time” … Spanish cities are full of containers for the collection of used clothes with this type of solidarity messages , but only a part of them send the garments to an NGO . The rest is part of a very lucrative business.

Every year we get rid of 160 million kilos of clothes . Most of it in June and October. The clothes that we discard do not go to the garbage , but to containers located in strategic places: doors of large shopping centers, schools, etc.

The competition for used clothing has saturated the streets of containers with messages of solidarity: “Help us to help”, “Cooperation and development aid”, “For a better world”, “A little yours does a long time” … Whoever moves the most wins .

We decided to check where the clothes we throw really go. We stand guard in front of a container, and we verify that these clothes do not end up in the hands of any NGO . Used clothes are so profitable that 10 containers give 15 people to live.

In Madrid there is only one company authorized to install this type of container, which pays the City Council 50 euros for each ton it collects. The rest are outside the law. The fines for placing them can exceed 1,000 euros. The benefit of used clothing allows you to pay the fines and also earn money.

We locate the warehouse where the owner of the containers classifies his treasure before going to the market. In his warehouse dozens of containers that he manufactures rest, ready to go out and continue harvesting solidarity clothing .

Many use false appeals to solidarity, to cooperation with development and even to combat gender violence to obtain second-hand clothes, a treasure that moves billions of euros every year and where many times the one who moves the most wins.

Investigation Team follows the route of second-hand clothing and discovers the profit margins achieved by each intermediary in a sector outside the crisis. Clothing ceases to be a waste from the moment it leaves the container to become a rising value. The reporters travel to the Spanish region of used clothing, in the province of Alicante, where they see how the owners hide their profitable businesses.

A business, that of used clothing, full of questions.

Click here to see the documentary


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