The Global Business
Author: Beate Schwarz
The donations of clothes are becoming a global economic asset. Whoever places old clothing in a collection bin as a donation today generally has no idea that this is the first step of a trade in used merchandise that spans the globe. In the process, the bundle of worn pieces of clothing increases in value each time from trader to trader and from station to station. It is transformed from an old item no longer immediately needed into what it used to be, namely a fashionable article of clothing. By means of complex recycling processes, it finds its way back to the consumer in the form of insulation materials, roofing felt, car seat covers or as finely spun thread for expensive designer fashion apparel.
A trade and utilization chain in the age of globalization: worn things from the wealthy nations are newly sorted – partly in low-wage countries such as Poland or even Dubai. 600,000 tons of old clothing from Germany alone is recycled in this way each year. In doing so, up to 200 different sales articles are created, based strictly on demand: affordable clothing for the poorer countries of eastern Europe and Africa.
This film shows how this value added chain works and who earns a living from these rags.
year of production: 2006