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Weekly wrap - 4

22 - 28 August, 2021

How much thought do we give to where our old and unwanted clothes end up after we drop them in a clothing donation bin?

Not a lot?! Well maybe it’s time we start giving this some more thought.

This week's recommended reading and watching focuses on the second hand clothing market. Hopefully, after taking a look at some of these links we might think about clothing donation a little differently (I know I will!).


Take a watch

My mum drew my attention to the 30 minute report from Foreign Correspondent, The Environmental Disaster that is Fuelled by Used Clothes and Fast Fashion, which recently aired in Australia. Sadly, it is one of the those reports that will leave you feeling like there is no stopping, or solution to our over-consuming ways. But education is key, so I do strongly recommend giving this a watch.

The report focuses on the Ghanian capital of Accra, which has become a dumping ground for our (the Western world's) charity shop castoffs. Every week, the Kantamanto Market, the largest second hand clothing market in West Africa, receives 15 million used garments from the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. However, approximately 40% of these “obroni wawu”, or “Dead White Man’s Clothes”, are of so poor quality that they end up as landfill (or simply tossed in the gutters).

This textile waste is creating an environmental catastrophe. From unregulated dumping sites popping up around the city and being set on fire, to textile waste literally choking waterways, and long arms of fabric littering the ocean and beaches threatening marine life and fisherman.

The solution? It may seem obvious - consume less - but it is never that straightforward.


Take a read

For a written account of the Foreign Correspondent episode mentioned above, check out the article Dead White Man’s Clothes, written by correspondent Linton Besser.

I was immediately drawn to the work of Liz Ricketts, who features in the Foreign Correspondent report. Liz has a background in fashion, and has been working in Ghana for years. She is also the co-founder of non-profit organisation The OR Foundation (pronounced "or", standing for choice). Their mission opens with:

So I thought I would share this interview I stumbled across on Eco-Age, Decolonising Fashion: How An Influx Of ‘Dead White Man’s Clothes’ Is Affecting Ghana. Liz not only shares how she got to where she is, but provides insight into how the upcycling and entrepreneurial work of Ghanian's is sadly being overshadowed, their feelings towards second hand clothing, and what the Western world could learn from Ghana.


Take a listen

Have you ever wondered what would happen if we did the right thing by the planet and simply stopped shopping?

If so, take a listen to Episode 144 of Wardrobe Crisis with Clare Press. The episode features the author of The Day the World Stops Shopping: How ending consumerism gives us a better life and a greener world, J.B. MacKinnon, and addresses the paradox of the planet needing us to consume less, but the economy urging us to consume more. Interestingly, the author's thought experiment came real during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Please GET IN TOUCH or leave me a comment, and let me know how reports like this change your behaviour.

What have you been watching, reading, or listening to this week?

Emma xx


This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions contained on this site are my own. I am not affiliated with any brands, products, or organisations mentioned, and do not receive any sponsorship, payment, or other compensation for any of the content on this site.


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