Tens of thousands of clothes collection bins are placed in shopping centers, parking lots and residential areas in Europe and North America in collaboration with municipalities and private entities, giving people the opportunity to donate their used clothes to a Humana People to People organization.
The Humana People to People second hand clothes collection addresses environment, economic development, and social development at the same time. The environment is protected, as the re-use of clothes saves resources for production of new clothes, minimizes the emission of green house gasses, and spares the landfills from millions of tons of clothes.
Economic development is supported through the job creation - jobs are created in the formal sector as well as in the informal sector with sorting, washing, transporting and selling the clothes - and through the local trade that stimulates economic activity. Social development is supported, as the surplus from the trade both in Europe and the USA and in Africa is used for development projects.
Adding value to 2nd hand clothes and creating social development
The adding of value to used clothes starts when a person in Europe or North America decides to donate her used clothing in one of the many clothes collection bins, placed in shopping centers, parking lots and other convenient places for dropping off the clothes. Instead of going to the landfill, the clothes enters into re-circulation. This person acts with environmental consciousness and at the same time with the wish to support development. More than 10 million people in Europe and North America do so and reduce CO2 emission with 360.000 tons every year (Technical University, Copenhagen, 2009).
The collected clothes is sometimes sold directly at the commercial market, and the proceeds is donated to development projects. In Europe, the clothes typically goes to the sorting center, where pieces of clothes suitable for sales locally are picked out, and the rest is sorted for shipment to Africa, for resale to other traders, or to the recycling industry.
The clothes sold in second hand shops or at the international market generates a surplus, which is used for supporting development projects in the Humana People to People movement.
The clothes for Africa is donated to Humana People to People organizations in Angola, DR Congo, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. Here the clothes is sorted into many different categories and re-packed in smaller bales for sale. The surplus from this sale supports social projects. The customers buy the type of product they can sell best, and they often have family members or employees to treat the clothes and sell them in the market places. Also here a surplus is generated and sustains a family.
People get the opportunity to buy good clothes at an affordable price. This is most often the only opportunity they have to buy clothes, as new clothes are sold at prices out of their reach, and they are not present in many of the rural communities.