The Secondhand Trade in Kenya and Nicaragua

Opinion piece excerpt

Supply-and-demand economics don’t stop at our borders, and it is both arrogant and ignorant to dismiss as waste what to people in low-income countries are vital and valuable commodities. And despite the way Kenya Wiley’s op-ed was framed, citizens of African countries aren’t the only ones who participate in the global trade in used clothing.

U.S. consumers who kindly donate their unused clothing should know their garments may be imported by our closest neighbors in Central America, where a 2023 report by my firm, global clothing reseller Garson & Shaw, suggests this vibrant industry will create more than 3 million jobs by 2040 and support those economies to the tune of $196.4 million in tax revenue.

Rather than peddle inaccuracies about the global secondhand trade, which is a thriving example of the circular economy in action, we should turn our focus on the real culprits of overflowing waste piles and environmental degradation: the fast-fashion giants that are swamping us with clothes so cheap they immediately become throwaway items, produced at rock-bottom prices thanks to inhumane working conditions and, in some cases, even slave labor.

Read Entire Letter to the editor:  Washington Post’s Opinion Piece

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