Longreads

Americans bury 21 billion pounds of clothing in landfills each year. That’s sick. Soil and water are used to grow cotton, which gets treated with poisonous herbicides and pesticides, only to bury it back in the ground? For Racked, Eileen Guo reports from Southern California about Mexico’s secondhand clothing economy that has developed around American excess.

A large portion of Goodwill clothing ends up in discount bins in a warehouse a mile north of the US-Mexico border, at what Guo calls “the end of the nonprofit’s supply chain.” There, Mexican citizens buy them at low prices to sell back in Mexico, sometimes at specialized resale stores, often at open-air markets and online. This system is certainly better than burying clothes in a landfill; people can use them and make a living. Unfortunately, the practice is illegal, because Mexico’s textile industry and manufacturing interests say the used clothing trade…

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