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Poisoned Gifts From donations to the dumpsite: textiles waste disguised as second-hand clothes exported to East Africa

22 April 2022

Summary

Global fashion brands are promoting circularity, but reality shows that this is still a myth. Nowhere is the failure of the fast fashion linear business model more visible than in the countries where many of these cheap clothes end up once their short lives are over: on huge dump sites, burnt on open fires, along riverbeds and washed out into the sea, with severe consequences for people and the planet. Greenpeace Germany went to Kenya and Tanzania to witness the problem of imported textile waste in these countries and to find out about some of the many local initiatives trying to counter it through their own means. In this briefing, we reveal the role played by imported used clothes called “Mitumba” in East Africa, and how much of it is of such poor quality that it goes straight to the dumpsite. Greenpeace Germany went to Kenya and Tanzania to witness the problem of imported textile waste in these countries and to find out about some of the many local initiatives trying to counter it through their own means. In this briefing, we reveal the role played by imported used clothes called “Mitumba” in East Africa, and how much of it is of such poor quality that it goes straight to the dumpsite.

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textiles waste fashion

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