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The Journey of Donated Clothing: From UK Charity Shops to Wardrobes in Asia and Africa

Every time you drop a piece of clothing into a donation bin, you’re not just decluttering your home. You’re also kick-starting a global voyage that gives your apparel a second life in a different part of the world. This journey, led by organisations like East London Textiles (ELT), epitomizes the impact of textile re-use and textile recycling and its transformative power across continents.

The Starting Point: UK’s Generous Heart:

The UK is home to thousands of charity shops, each brimming with clothing donations. These donated items, often overflow from personal wardrobes, come together to create a reservoir of reusable fashion.


Sorting and Quality Check:

Before these clothes embark on their international journey, they undergo a rigorous sorting process at facilities like ELT. Here, experts categorise clothing based on type, quality, and destination, ensuring only the best reaches the final consumer.

From the UK to the World:

Once sorted, these clothing items are packaged and shipped to various parts of the world. Regions like Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East warmly welcome this influx of quality second-hand clothing.

Why Do These Regions Value Donated Clothes?:

Many regions, especially in Africa and Asia, have thriving second-hand clothing markets. These markets not only offer affordable fashion options but also play a pivotal role in reducing waste, promoting sustainability, and even boosting local economies.

ELT’s Role in this Global Phenomenon:

ELT, with its extensive network, facilitates this journey. Collaborating with charity shops and waste management companies, ELT ensures the seamless transition of clothing from UK homes to international markets, emphasizing the philosophy of re-use and recycle.


Every donated piece of clothing has a story. By choosing to donate, you’re not just helping your local community but also fostering global connections, bridging cultures, and championing sustainable fashion.

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