Where Does My Used Clothing Go?

There are so many ways to give – your money, your time, your unwanted household items, and of course, your used clothing. In America we buy and give away more clothes than any other country. But when we drop our clothing into the collection bins we see in parking lots, what happens to them?


What happens after you drop off clothes into a collection bin

When you drop off your unwanted clothing, shoes and household goods in a collection bin, you do a world of good. Nearly 100% of your cast-offs end up in the hands of someone who needs it, sold for pennies through local merchants. This supports micro enterprise in developing countries.

Collection bins are found in parking lots and small businesses all over the US, and managed through the capable hands of a specialist group or textile merchant —usually a family-run business like Charter. We collect all over Florida, and have the experience, expertise and networks to recycle your textiles responsibly. Some of your used clothing stays right here in the States, while much of your hand-me-down clothes go to Mexico, South America, Haiti and Africa.

How it helps small businesses

As a “rag merchant”, we pack the used clothing you drop off into 1000 pound bales for shipping. Once the shipment arrives at its destination, the bales of clothes (which are sold by the container load) are graded into smaller bundles and re-sold to market stall vendors. These small business owners (stall vendors) sort the clothing to suit their own needs (wash and iron it, if needed), merchandise it or package it to make it more attractive to their customers. These open-air markets provide jobs for thousands of citizens and contribute greatly to the local economy. Research shows that in the African country of Kenya more than five million jobs and ancillary jobs were created in the second-hand clothing industry. That’s just one country.

According to The Guardian, “selling clothes to traders in Africa has helped create a multibillion-dollar industry in countries that need it.”

How it helps people get jobs


Used clothing helps kids attend school.

In the past 30 years, Africa has had an explosion in the growth of its population, and people need clothing in order to make a living and feed their families. People can’t apply for jobs or hold jobs without adequate clothing. Kids need clothing to go to school. When they don’t have a shirt or shoes, they can’t attend class. A simple clean polo shirt gets a child back in school or someone back to work. Your used shoes are a lifesaver to someone who needs to walk to their job or school. Even belts have a second life and are recycled into new products. Your used clothing supports microbusinesses in third world countries. Nothing goes to waste.

Our role

Charter Recycling is a family business and we do business with other family businesses. We are proud that we are fulfilling such an important role in the global market—bringing a valuable resource to the people who need it most. We also help prevent a million tons of used clothing from ending up in America’s already stressed landfills. This holiday season go through your closets, attics and basements. If you live in Florida, bag up your unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories and bedding and put them in a Charter bin. We will take it from there. You can feel good that your clothing is going from family to family to family. After all, isn’t that what the holiday season is all about? Happy Holidays from Charter Recycling!

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