Recycling of winter clothing
After the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival, it is time to tidy our wardrobe and prepare winter clothing. Many residents used to put used clothes into recycling banks to minimize wastage. However, should we ask ourselves: are the used clothes we recycled suitable in the importing countries? Would it be in low demand? Can recycling such clothing really solve the waste problem?
During the developing stage of Used Clothes Recycling, demands from Mainland China and South-East Asia were high while the recycling standards from the importing countries were easy to meet. However, such standards for importing waste were tightened up in China since 2013 with the implementation of "Operation Green Fence”. Furthermore, 24 specified types of solid wastes, including used clothes, will be prohibited in China by the end of 2017. These changes are leading to a large amount of used clothes being exported to South-East Asia instead of China. With the increased choices of used clothes, the condition of the clothing becomes stricter. It is believed that the South-East Asia market will become saturated soon with the growing supply.
In fact, winter clothing is more difficult to reuse among other used clothes categories. The demand of winter clothes is low mainly due to the warmer climate in South-East Asia. Although local collectors put a lot of effort to sort out and export reusable used clothes, some will indeed be discarded unwillingly due to low market demand, export restrictions and/or undesirable conditions. Given there is no guarantee that all used clothes will be reused by the receiving country, we (as consumers) need to shoulder our individual responsibilities with careful considerations before each purchase, especially for winter clothing:
- Is it necessary to buy a new one if the clothes from previous winter seasons are still wearable?
- Is it necessary to buy heavily winterized clothing under Hong Kong’s relatively warm climate?
- Is it necessary to buy winter clothing specifically for travelling? Can we borrow from friends? Any other alternatives, such as layering, which should be more convenient and comfortable for packing?