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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Secondhand clothes are finding fewer takers (2)

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

09:07, February 24, 2012

"Once, an elderly woman in a plain dress came to donate her clothes, which had been patched. We appreciate her cordiality, but we also have to take into consideration of the interests of people receiving the clothes."

Charitable organizations face problems receiving used clothes.

The garments need to be disinfected, according to Li Gensheng, an officer from the department of community work under Shanghai Charity Materials Management Center.

Li said they used to sterilize clothes with ultraviolet rays, but that worked only where the clothing was touched by the rays, so they stopped.

"Although some deputies to the National People's Congress have repeatedly suggested we should disinfect (donated clothes), we have no choice but to let donors do the preliminary sterilization by washing and drying in air before finding a desirable way," he said.

Cost is another headache, Li said.

The center collects nearly 50,000 pieces of clothing a month, and takes them to the train station.

"We have to afford the high cost of gasoline, labor and vehicle maintenance, and we pay around 15,000 yuan ($2,400) a month for a railway carriage to send the items to Yunnan," Li said.

Li said the center is still working as a channel to accept secondhand clothes donations, and care for social benefits thanks to government subsidy. Most other charities turn down the clothing.

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