Over the last five years, the prices that people are paying for second hand clothes has tripled, which is creating a large battle between companies, criminals, and charities that all want the cast-offs from people. Interestingly enough, the latest boom is not something that is seen on the traders’ terminals, but instead within the small town shopping areas, industrial estates, and even at supermarket car parks.
Even some online entrepreneurs and specialist shops are now offering cash for large bags filled with old clothes due to the fact that British high street labours can demand high prices and profits in areas such as Africa and Europe.
It used to be that second hand shops paid on average about £220 a tonne, according to figures compiled in 2007, but today the price has jumped up to £650 per tonne. One reason for this is because demand has jumped since the EU grew to include many eastward locations in the middle of the 2000s making more markets for clothes to be sold at.
Charities are reporting that the news is not all that great for them however as donations are falling now that people can get more money for the clothes elsewhere and are no longer as willing to donate them.
On the other hand, some charities are benefiting from the increased price in textiles due to the fact that they are a valuable commodity if used correctly. For example, the Salvation Army Trading Company collects donated clothing and then sells them for money that is put towards charity and has seen their revenues increase over the past few years.
Local governments that are having trouble with their budget cuts also are getting in on the fun taking advantage of textile prices and following the lead of Hertfordshire councils which have placed a contract on operating textile banks. The winning textile bank would have to pay the council a certain percentage of sales for all the clothing that is collected.