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#10: Read this before you donate the clothes from your spring cleanout
Out with the New #10
It’s officially our 10th straight weekly newsletter! As we reflect back on the last few months, we want to hear from you.
We’re also testing out Substack as a potential platform this week so bear with us if anything gets wonky.
Do we like it? Hate it? Don’t see a difference? Let us know!
Finally done with your spring cleaning? Before you donate your clothes, read this…
What actually happens to the clothes you donate? I have bad news for you— They aren’t likely to be resold. At least not in the way you might think.
Thrift stores are overwhelmed with excess inventory thanks to our current fashion culture of overproduction and consumption that leaves us treating clothes as disposable. As a result, thrift stores have too much inventory and can only sell about 10-20% of it. The rest of it gets sent to sorting centers where it will be recycled, or more accurately downcycled, into rags or insulation.
Or it gets sorted out to be sold in bales to countries around the world, mostly in the Global South, to enter their secondhand clothing markets. Because of the nature of these bales, a majority of it is unsellable, so it’ll be immediately landfilled in the country it ends up in. Which is how millions and millions of garments end up in the Atacama Desert in Chile or piled up on the beaches of Ghana. What isn’t landfilled, secondhand venders will sell in their local markets, but many of these vendors go into debt to buy the clothing bales and the secondhand markets have undermined the local textile industry and economy.
All around, the process is highly problematic and largely transfers the burden of our waste in the Global North to those in the Global South, harming their environment, health, and economy.
Wait, So What Should I Do With My Clothes?
As we learned, donating your unwanted clothes probably shouldn’t be your first choice. But we won’t leave you hanging without some ideas of what to do instead. You want to rehome your pieces where you know they can actually get a good second life. Here are some ideas:
Gift to friends & family
Take them to a clothing swap
Sell them yourself (new side hustle?!)
Recycle responsibly (most recycling centers export their clothes to the secondhand markets, too)
Donate strategically to cause-based charities that clearly define what they need
Overall, the best thing you can do is only add clothes to your wardrobe that you truly love and won’t want to get rid of down the line. Of course, it’s inevitable that we will all have clothes to pass on at some point. Be intentional to care for your clothes and responsibly rehome them when the time comes.
For the full breakdown, check out our blog post.
Beni is officially 2 years old! 🎉
From graduations to offsites to the very first mockup of Beni, it’s been a wild and crazy ride that we couldn’t have done without the countless hours and help of our amazing team, friends, family, mentors, investors, dogs…you get the picture. HUGE thank you to everyone who’s come along for this journey with us. We are beyond excited to celebrate this milestone today and look forward to continuing the build the future of resale with you!
…and for anyone asking, here is what’s on our birthday list:
Tell a friend about Beni
Forward this newsletter to someone you think will like it
Keep shopping with Beni and let us know what you find!
Partner Spotlight: Geartrade
An online marketplace where adventurists buy the used gear and apparel we love for the outdoors you need! From snow to sand, Geartrade has it all.
🛍 Popular Brands: The North Face, Sorel, Canada Goose, Jack Wolfskin
🔥 Beni Tip: Geartrade accepts outdoor gear in good or better condition that is fully functional and less than 5 years old.
👀 The Nitty Gritty: Geartrade currently does not have an authentication program. We recommend asking the seller for additional photos prior to sale!
Join the Beni community
Welcome to our ‘Out with the New’ newsletter! Join us every week as we demystify the world of resale. We’ll share the latest Beni news, insider tips for shopping secondhand, and guide you through the trends shaping the future of fashion.