I am very disgusted right now.
I was driving my dad back to his work, after he dropped his car off for some repairs at my auto shop. We were casually chatting, talking about the weather, and about me driving to Reno this weekend to visit Jonathan. We arrive at his shop, and as he’s getting out of the car, he leans back down and mentions one of the projects he and his crew had earlier this morning.
You see, my dad works for the local Sheriff’s department. He is in charge of taking minimum security inmate work crews around the county and doing various jobs. They’re
free cheap labour; instead of hiring expensive contractors to do plumbing/construction/painting/whatever, they find guys in the min. security barracks who are capable, and have them do the work.
This morning, he and his crew had to box up, haul to the dump, and dispose of 8 TONS of counterfeit goods. Hats, coats, shoes, purses, etc etc etc. They were followed by the Secret Service to make certain no one snagged a box out of their trucks. Those boxes full of clothes are going to be destroyed at the dump.
Not donated to the needy.
was am appalled. It’s cold in Northern California today; when I left my house this morning it was snowing. Now at work, I’m sitting inside wearing two pairs of socks, a coat, and I have a heater behind my desk. I’m still freezing. I can only imagine how the people who live on the streets must feel right now.
I understand that manufacturing and selling counterfeit goods hurts the original designers. I GET THAT. I was a fashion merchandising major, remember? However, this blatant and unnecessary waste really bothers me.
If the clothes aren’t donated, then why isn’t the fabric recycled? Textile recycling of brand new, unworn clothing is easy -
“Fiber reclamation mills grade incoming material into type and color. The color sorting means no re-dying has to take place, saving energy and pollutants. The textiles are shredded into “shoddy” fibers and blended with other selected fibers, depending on the intended end use of the recycled yarn. The blended mixture is carded to clean and mix the fibers and spun ready for weaving or knitting. The fibers can also be compressed for mattress production. Textiles sent to the flocking industry are shredded to make filling material for car insulation, roofing felts, loudspeaker cones, panel linings and furniture padding. “
Ok, so they can take the clothes and shred them and make car seat padding out of them. That’s a noble enough venture; it saves money and spares us from using more chemical pollutants than necessary. But I just don’t think that’s enough! So many people in this country call on others to think of the homeless, the needy, the vulnerable….yet this wastefulness continues.
In the UK, they’ve got the right idea. A charity called His Church has taken on the task of collecting and rebranding (covering over “designer” labels) counterfeit goods, and distributing them to the needy.
Here’s an excerpt from the BBC article:
“Every year customs and trading standards spend a fortune on storing fake clothes while waiting for a court decision, and then once the items have been proved to be fake the authorities have to fork out further for incineration or landfill costs.
His Church has removed all such costs and pass on the high quality goods to some 250 homeless centres and women’s shelters across the country.
Even items which are too heavily branded to be patched over with the His Church logo are not wasted.
“We have permission to send them outside the EU, often to Africa,” says Richard (Humphrey, charity coordinator). “But we have a duty of care and trust. We have to keep an audit trail of every single item of clothing, where it’s come from, exactly where it goes – even down to a pair of underpants.”"