[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: This is”Marketplace.
” >> Whoa.
>> Pajamas, old dresses.
>> Oh, my gosh! >> Charlsie: Where do allyour old clothes really end up? >> Ultimately, it is goingto end up in a landfill.
>> Charlsie: We followthe trail around the world.
The high cost of fast fashion.
This is your “Marketplace.
” I’m here checking out some ofthe biggest fashion chains in the world but I’m notshopping for new clothes.
I’m actually trying to getrid of some of my old ones.
So these are myall-time favourite sweat pants from college.
These, I washed them andthey totally shrunk.
These were also super cheap.
This is just likean old tee-shirt.
It was black at onepoint in its life.
Some retailers are on a mission.
They want your unwanted clothes, and some are competing with charities for it.
There’s a new bin in town andthe message is clear: Don’t throw old clothesin the garbage, dump them here.
They’ll take curtains, they’ll take jeans.
They’ll even takeyour old underwear.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: Drop off oldclothes and get a coupon to save money whenyou buy new ones.
>> Charlsie: But before Ipart with my old clothes, I’ve got a few more questions.
These bins suremake us all feel good.
But are they doing asmuch good as we think? Look at this! Look at these bags! Most of us are like theBretons and the Palmas in Markham, Ontario.
Somehow, we end upwith too many clothes.
>> Emily, what’s in here? >> Old clothes thatare too small for me.
>> Charlsie: They purgea few times a year, normally dropping theirhaul in a charity bin.
>> Whoa! >> Stuff like thesehave, like, holes in them.
>> Charlsie: This isn’tjust a pile of clothes.
It’s now a pileof textile waste.
And we want to show the kids just how big theproblem really is.
[ ♪♪ ] Are you guys ready to go insideand see what happens to all those clothes that you donate? >> Yes.
>> All right.
Let’s go inside.
[ ♪♪ ] Go on in, take a look.
>> Whoa! [ ♪♪ ] >> Clothes!>> Clothes! >> That’s clothes.
>> Do you see that? >> Oh, my gosh.
>> Clothes! >> That’s a crazy pile.
>> Charlsie: And get this, all of this is what’s leftover, the stuff no one wants.
The stuff thatthrift stores can’t sell.
All those clothes youguys piled up yesterday, this is where it can end up.
>> It’s a lot of clothes.
>> It wasn’t what Iwas expecting to see.
>> Charlsie: One warehouse, more than 200, 000 pounds of textile waste each week.
And that’s just fromin and around Toronto.
>> Across the country, we’ve gotnine other locations similar to this one.
The last year or two years, probably a 15 to 20% growth in the overall volume oftextiles that are coming in.
>> Charlsie: Tonny Colyn is thehead of donations for Salvation Army Canada.
So, how do you think fastfashion has impacted.
this? >> All of this.
It’s had a massive effect.
And all of that stuffhas to go somewhere.
>> Charlsie: The dadsof these two families, Michael Palma and NormanBreton can’t believe it.
>> Their coats orboots might be okay, but they want something new.
>> If they need or if theywant, it’s a big question.
A lot of times they wantstuff but they don’t need it.
>> Charlsie: Still, we can’tseem to get our hands on fast fashion fast enough.
Cheap, trendy, disposable clothes.
And we’re evenbragging about it.
>> And I ended up witha bag full of clothes.
>> Charlsie: We’re allbuying too much, 400% more, since the 1980’s.
>> The quality isn’t allthat great but the prices are fantastic.
>> Charlsie: But not all ofour old clothes make it to the donation bin.
Most of it, 85%, ends up in landfills.
In North America, it’s estimated to be at least 25 billion pounds a year.
In Canada alone, imagine amountain three times the size of Toronto’s Rogers Centre Stadiumwhere they don’t biodegrade easily because many are madewith fabrics that can’t be broken down.
Releasing chemicals and dyesinto our rivers, soil.
That’s part of the reason whyfashion is one of the world’s top polluters.
So in the last few years, someof the biggest names in the business, Levi’s, Nike, Adidas, Zara have startedrecycling programs.
All retailers with donation binsin stores calling out for your old garments.
But none go as far as H&M, they will take anything, jeans, curtains, even underwear, just check out their ads.
>> The thing that you neverwore, this and this and that.
The thing with the colour thatwasn’t your colour, bring it on.
>> Charlsie: This is one ofH&M’s latest ad campaigns.
>> Cut your jeans into piecesand make new jeans out of them.
>> Charlsie: “Cut your jeansinto pieces “and make newjeans out of them.
” >> With your help, we literallyturn your old clothes into new garments.
>> Charlsie: “We literally turnyour old clothes “into new garments.
” >> Garments in the worstcondition can be transformed into insulation material ortextile fibers woven into cloth, reborn as fashionablenew clothes of every conceivable kind.
>> Charlsie: What do youthink about recycling clothes? >> I think that’s amazing.
That’s a great plan.
>> Charlsie: We’re talkingabout recycling clothes.
What does that make youthink is happening to the stuff? >> I think maybe it’s, like, like, refurbish the clothes and, like, get themto look new again.
>> Charlsie: What do youthink happens to that stuff? >> Doesn’t it get recycled tomake new clothes from the old clothes? >> Let’s shred it into fibersand stitch it into something new.
The only thing wewill not do it waste it.
>> Charlsie: Boldrecycling claims.
They sound great, but are they really? [ ♪♪ ] [ Flight AttendantOver Intercom ] >> To try to find out, we head to New York City, one of the fashioncapitals of the world.
[ ♪♪ ] >> With jackets, you alwayshave to check the lining.
>> Charlsie: MeetElizabeth Cline, an anti-fast fashion crusader.
Because of what she knows, she only wears used clothes.
It’s made her a pro atassessing cast-offs.
>> On a coat, the first thingyou would do is make sure the zippers work.
Especially fast fashion, like alot of the fasteners will break and chip really quickly.
>> Charlsie: We show her H&M’smarketing and ask her what she thinks about making newclothes out of your old ones.
>> Shred it into fibers andstitch it into something new.
>> The reality is that currentlyonly about 1% of clothing is actually recycled and thevery literal sense of the word.
>> Charlsie: 1%? >> 1%.
>> Charlsie: 1%.
is recycled? >> If you’re talking aboutrecycling in terms of taking fibers and breaking them downand turning them back into new fibers, it’s 1%.
>> Charlsie: Why is it so hardto just take my old shirt and turn it into a new one, whycan’t you just do is that? >> A lot of our clothes are madeout of blended fibers, so maybe this is acrylic and wooland cotton mixed together, maybe my tights arecotton and elastin, that makes itdifficult to recycle.
The other challenge is that whenyou recycle cotton and wool, it diminishes the quality ofthat material so it weakens the cotton and wool strand andgives you a lesser product.
>> Charlsie: Bottom line, thetechnology just isn’t there yet.
It’s way too expensive andtoo time consuming to make new clothesfrom old ones.
>> It’s also a more skepticalside of me that knows that the reason why H&M is focusing ontextile recycling is because it’s an easysustainability win for them.
It doesn’t involve them changingtheir production model at all to collect clothes and make surethat they get a second life.
It doesn’t make the fast fashionsystem anymore sustainable.
>> Charlsie: Experts agree fastfashion needs to change if we really want tomake a difference.
Remember when fashionhad four seasons, winter, spring, summer and fall? Now the trendschange almost every day.
Here’s how this Swedishclothing giant CEO explains it.
>> They have new garments cominginto the stores almost every day so if you go to an H&M storetoday and come back two days later, you will alwaysfind something new.
>> Charlsie: H&M salespeopletell us new clothes come in every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
That works out to half abillion products a year.
And it’s why H&M’s recyclingcampaign makes Claudia Marsales so mad.
>> It really is aform of greenwashing.
>> Charlsie: She’s the headof Markham, Ontario’s waste programs, one of the few Canadian cities to actually bantextiles from landfills.
>> In order for the fast fashionoutlets to recycle what they make, it would take12 years to recycle what they sell in 48 hours.
Like it’s just– it’s just–so that sort of tells me it’s really more aboutfoot traffic, marketing, greenwashing than about reallyaddressing the broken business model of fast fashion.
>> Charlsie: We asked H&M tocome on camera and talk about their recycling program.
They declined, assuring usthey don’t want to encourage a throw-away attitude.
Their clothes are goodquality and made to last.
And they are workingtowards a business model where, eventually, all theirclothes can be recycled.
>> At least they’re trying? >> Yes, well, but they’re acause of the problem so fast fashion retailers, theirbusiness model is the problem.
They’re making too much, they’re selling it too cheap, it’s disposable clothing.
Doing a bit of back-endrecycling and a bit of commercials reallydoesn’t address that issue.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: And ask somecustomers one of the things they love most about the program? It’s the discount.
That incentive to keep buying.
>> I put it in the bin andthen they give me a discount, I saw it and it’s like oh, snap.
You know, um, it’s a way to, like, you know, like, help me andhelp them at the same time.
>> Charlsie: What do you meanwhen you say help you and help someone else? >> Um, help me by, you know, saving money and help them by providing freeclothing for them.
>> We just chuck it inthe bin and they did offer, like, a $5 discount.
>> Charlsie: H&M might becollecting your old clothes.
More than 55, 000 tonnes so far, but if they’re barely making new clothes from yourdonations, where do they all go? These shoppers have a theory.
Where do you think thoseclothes go that you put in H&M? >> They probably go to, like, people who need them, probably like shelters or otherplaces that use the clothes.
>> Probably give it for free, or something, to, like, thepeople that need it.
>> Charlsie: Where doyou think that stuff goes, what do you think happens to it? >> Hopefully to justsome needy people.
>> Who still wantto be fashionable.
>> Charlsie: Many of us thinkour old clothes are given to the less fortunate.
And maybe you’re tellingyourself that to feel better about buying more, too.
Well, Cline coineda term for this.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: What’s theclothing deficit myth? >> So, the clothing deficit mythis the idea that when we give clothes to charity, they’regoing to go to someone locally in our community in need.
But in the era of fast fashion, there’s far more unwanted clothes than thereare people in need.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: The Salvation Armyknows all about that.
Remember, this is all the stuffthey can’t sell at their stores.
So what do they dowith all these leftovers? They sell it– to a middle man.
And the retailers do thesame thing with all your donations, too.
In Canada, H&M gives the moneyit makes off your donations to UNICEF.
Here’s the thing.
All textiles are worth money.
The stuff that’s in really roughshape is shredded for painter’s cloths or insulation, forexample, then sold.
But the majority of all donatedclothes are shipped overseas to developing countriesand they’re sold there, too.
Not donated orgiven to needy people.
And if you think that meansit’s not going to end up in landfills, think again.
We follow the trail ofyour old tee-shirts.
Around the world.
>> The black stripeshere are from Canada.
>> Charlsie: You can’tafford to miss this trip.
This is your “Marketplace.
” [ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: The realdeal on your “Marketplace.
” [ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: We loveour clothes.
Now so cheap, you can make adifferent statement every day.
These things are $3? $5.
But they come with a huge cost.
Part of the reason whysome fast fashion chains, like H&M, say they’ve gotrecycling programs like this.
>> The Earth simply cannot bearso many clothes ending their lives as waste.
H&M has a far better answer.
>> Charlsie: But we learnt lessthan 1% of the world’s used clothes are turnedinto new ones.
The majority of those donationsfrom retailer and charity bins are baled and sold overseas.
[ ♪♪ ] >> This is Nairobi, Kenya, thecountry at the top of the list when it comes tobuying your old clothes.
Kenya is one ofCanada’s best customers.
In a given year, they buy morethan $20 million worth of our old clothes.
>> All the rest withthe black stripes, the black stripeshere are from Canada.
These are a varietyof kids clothing.
This one is a jacket.
>> Charlsie: Maina Andrewis a used clothing importer.
>> People fromCanada and America, they are actually a bit huge.
>> Charlsie: Sceneslike this aren’t isolated.
You’ll see them all over Africa, South and Central America.
A lot of this is stuffCanadians donated for free, only for it to be sold herefor profit to vendors like Alice Nyansarora Anunda, whobrings it to her local market.
They call the clothes, “Mitumba.
” >> No, that one, it’sjust a nickname we gave it, “Mitumba” means, “Old”in our culture.
>> Charlsie: Nearly13, 000 kilometres away.
But take a closerlook and there they are.
The names you know.
AEO, Zara, Adidas, H&M.
>> The way we open bales, weknow plans where there’s new clothes, especiallythose which come from Canada.
>> Charlsie: But Andrew noticesmany of the clothes are low quality, tough to sell.
>> We just dump them.
If people don’t buythem, we just dump them.
[ ♪♪ ] >> They do go inthe piles of garbage, very many of them.
>> Charlsie: He says thishappens regularly right behind the market, discarding andburning clothes Canadians don’t want and neither do Kenyans.
>> Sometimes they packeven very old items.
You can even pack itemsthat are not even good, and they end up dumpingthem in Africa or in Kenya.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Yeah, we burn them and it isa lost work because we have already bought them.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: All those popularbrands in the crowded markets, Elizabeth Clinehas seen them, too.
She’s been to Kenya.
>> There are a lot of differentcompanies around the world that are working on textile recyclingin the truest sense of the word, but it’s really inthe very early stages.
Whether it stays in the UnitedStates or if it ends up in Africa, ultimately it isgoing to end up in the landfill.
>> Charlsie: We tell H&Mabout this Kenyan market and all the fires.
They say its middle manI:CO, which handles pickup and distribution of their bins, has really high standards.
But they are still workingon building a better tracking system so thisdoesn’t keep happening.
>> Dumping is always cheaper.
It’s always the cheaper option.
There’s only one solution.
The producer of the clothingis responsible cradle to grave.
So they make the tee-shirt, they sell the tee-shirt, the tee-shirt comes back, theyhave to recycle that tee-shirt.
They can’t put it in athird world country.
>> As far as SouthAfrica is concerned, we banned secondhand clothing.
>> When a countrysurvives on secondhand things, secondhand clothes, it meansthere’s something wrong with that system.
>> Threatening the survival ofthe local textiles industry.
>> Charlsie: And now manyof those countries are fighting back.
East African countries sentthe world a message recently.
They don’t want ourhand-me-downs and tried to ban them.
Their government saidit was destroying their own textile market.
>> Secondhand clothes arequite cheap and any manufactured textile would not beable to compete with them.
>> Charlsie: And despiteeverything you just watched, Cline says H&M group is afrontrunner in sustainability efforts.
>> Compared to otherbrands, they are leaders.
I don’t know what that saysabout the rest of the fashion industry, that a fastfashion chain is at the top of that list.
Just know that your textilewaste is an environmental issue.
Textile waste in landfillsis one of the fastest growing categories of waste, andit’s such an easy thing to do something about.
>> Charlsie: So what should youdo with all your old clothes? The answers, coming right up.
Do you have a story youwant us to investigate? Write to us, Marketplace@cbc.
[ ♪♪ ] >> The high cost offashion on your “Marketplace.
” Do you ever impulse buy? >> Absolutely.
>> Charlsie: What was the lastthing you bought that now you see, and you’re like, “What was I thinking?” >> Clothing always.
>> Charlsie: On average, we buyalmost 70 clothing items every year.
That means we’re buyingnew clothes every week.
What did you buy? >> A lot of stuff.
>> Charlsie: Didyou need anything? >> No.
>> Charlsie: Just looking aroundand you bought a few things.
>> Yes, I bought lots of things.
Leggings, shirts, socks, underwear.
>> Charlsie: Most of thesestyles will end up trashed in landfill.
Fast fashion is a bigpart of the problem, but we don’t have to buy in.
So this is 50%polyester, 50% cotton.
It’s really hard to separatethose fibers and make new stuff.
>> You bet.
>> Charlsie: Do you know howmany litres of water goes into making a single pair of jeans? Almost 4, 000 litres.
>> That’s crazy.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Charlsie: And sometimesjust seeing the waste makes a difference.
These families swearthey’ll change their ways.
>> They want to lookat the cute things, things that look good butnot necessarily good quality.
>> We have to– we try to teachthem to use their stuff until it’s worn out.
>> Charlsie: Speaking ofwaste and consumption, I’ve still got my bag ofclothes to get rid of.
I don’t really know wherethe best place is to go with my stuff.
And I think people at home whosee this are probably going to have the same question.
>> Some people liketo swap the clothes, so that’s thefirst line of defence.
If it’s in reallygood condition, you can take them toa consignment store.
You can also donate toa reputable charity.
Do your research on whoyou’re giving your clothing to.
Don’t buy so much.
>> Charlsie: So bottom line, when it comes to your used clothing, don’t throw it away, try and give it to somebody who can actually use it.
Hey, girls, doesanybody need a tee-shirt? No, you sure? Black dress pants? Hardly ever wore them.
This is cool, right? Zipper in the back.
>> I think I’m okay.
>> Charlsie: Any chance youwant to return yours and take these ones.
>> No, thank you.
>> Charlsie: They’re asize small.
I wore them, like, twice.
>> No, thank you.
>> Charlsie: No?>> No.
>> Charlsie: Do any of you needa pair of pajama pants or know someone who might want these? >> I’ll take them.
>> Charlsie: Tee shirt? >> I’ll take them.
>> Charlsie: Any chanceyou want a pair of Levi’s? >> Sure, size 6, me.
>> Charlsie: Awesome!>> Awesome.
>> Charlsie: There you goand they won’t go to landfill this way.
>> Charlsie: Maybe there isno perfect solution to this complicated problem.
But if there’s something I’velearned throughout this process, it’s that there issomething I can do and, for me, that willmean buying less.
[ ♪♪ ] >> Announcer: A special, yearlong Marketplace investigation.
We go undercover, inside nursing homes.
>> I was.
>> Announcer: Familiesfighting for better care.
>> Die, die.
>> Woman: My poor mother.
>> Announcer: Has long term carereached a crisis point? >> Oh, we’reway past that.
I think we’ve beenin crisis for years.
>> If this happenedin a day care, that day care would beshut down in five minutes.
>> Announcer:How to fight for better care, On the next Marketplace.