Here a new pair of pants, there a new shirt – did you know that each of us buys around 60 new items of clothing a year? Be it because you want to join the latest fashion trends, are bored of the “old” clothes or for other reasons. And so we buy more and more, even though we already have more than enough clothes in the closet. No wonder that clothes keep piling up at home and you don’t really know when to put on all of them.
If there is a lack of space in the closet again, it is time to sort it out. But where do you put the sorted out items of clothing? One thing is certain: definitely not in the trash! The clothes are usually much too well preserved for that. And that would also go against any idea of sustainability. So it doesn’t work at all. One possibility is to resell the goods, for example at flea markets or second hand shops . Another option is to donate the clothes. This not only benefits people in need, but is also good for the environment.
Clothes donation: be careful with used clothes containers!
Sorting out clothes that are no longer needed are often packed in a sack and taken to the nearest used clothes container. They are available in every city and offer quick and easy disposal of unused clothing. Every year around 750,000 tons of old clothes end up in collection containers that are on the street. The problem: Many containers are placed illegally and the goods often do not end up with those who really need them, such as the homeless, refugees and other needy people. Instead, clothes that are still in good condition are sold on to European second-hand stores, while clothes that are no longer up-to-date are shipped to Africa, Asia or South America.
The problem here: the clothing donation often has a negative impact on developing countries. Because some of the donated clothing is resold at extremely low prices, against which the local products of local textile companies cannot compete.
A large part of the clothing collected in the cotainers is also recycled into cleaning rags or other materials or ends up in waste incineration to generate heat.
Pay attention to used clothing containers with the FairWeed seal!
If you still want to bring your discarded clothing to the used clothing container, you should make sure that it bears a “fair rating” label. FairW Bewertung is an amalgamation of various non-profit organizations and social projects, including Diakonie, Caritas, Hephata and Bethel. If the collection container has such a seal, it means that the proceeds go to social, diaconal and charitable organizations and do not flow into dubious companies.
Donate clothing to local DRK, Caritas & Co. clothing stores
So-called closets are actually a holdover from the post-war period. At that time, they were used to provide the population with warm clothing in the cold seasons. But even today there are still some closets. Here you can hand in your discarded clothing, which will then benefit the homeless , refugees, Hartz IV recipients and other needy people.
Since wardrobes usually have little storage space, you should find out which clothes are needed online or by phone beforehand.
Donate old clothes to Oxfam stores
Another possibility where you can drop off your sorted items of clothing directly is Oxfam. There are Oxfam stores in every major city. You can find an Oxfam shop near you here . Oxfam works on a voluntary basis and resells the donated clothing. Most of the proceeds go to the development work of Oxfam Deutschland eV Clothing that is not sold but is still in good condition is also given to non-profit organizations, such as social department stores or textile recycling companies.
Another point of contact for your clothing donation are so-called social department stores. They can be found in almost every major city and are mostly run by churches, social welfare offices or charities. The department stores sell the donated goods to the needy for little money and the proceeds go to various social projects. By the way: Everyone can shop in social department stores, regardless of income.
Send clothing donations free of charge
Is the nearest social facility or closet too far away? No problem. You can also simply send your clothing donation by post. The Deutsche Kleiderstiftung, for example, accepts your donation by parcel and even provides you with a free parcel label to print out. The foundation gives selected items of clothing and urgently needed goods to those in need, the remaining items are sold on to finance the work according to the ethical standards of FairWANY eV. You can also send rejected clothing to PackMee in a box free of charge. The company then prepares the things for charitable organizations.
Donate clothes online
Have you ever heard of the “free-your-stuff.com” platform? Free-Your-Stuff is a free online marketplace for everyone who has something to give away. Here you can not only offer clothing, but also baby equipment , accessories, bags and much more – true to the motto: There is always something to give away that others can still use.
What to do with broken clothes
Some of your discarded items of clothing are broken and unusable and you don’t know where to put them? The Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) advises that broken clothing should not be thrown into the residual waste bin or into the used clothing container, but should be handed in at the municipal recycling center. Another option is to ask your local animal shelter or workshop to see if there is any need for old clothing.