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Secondhand clothes are finding fewer takers

By Zhou Wenting (China Daily)

09:06, February 24, 2012

Charity groups often have to dispose of threadbare garments

SHANGHAI - Huang Hao, a customer of Uniqlo, was happy that the Japanese clothing warehouse will again accept clothing donations from consumers and take them to a charity. But she is having second thoughts.

"Only the newest looking clothes will be taken, but the ones we'll donate may not be in such good condition," said Huang, a 32-year-old Shanghai resident.

Starting on March 1, consumers can take used garments from the brand to one of its 30 outlets in the city. The company will then donate almost-new items to the Shanghai Charity Materials Management Center.

The center is affiliated with the government-funded Shanghai Charity Foundation.

The clothes will be sent to Yunnan, the province in Southwest China designated to receive aid from Shanghai, company officials said on Thursday.

"We hope the recycling and reuse will help consumers to maximize the value of their secondhand clothes and lend a helping hand to people in need," said Dong Chunfang, a marketing officer of the Uniqlo brand of Fast Retailing Co.

It's not easy to find places to donate secondhand clothes. Liang Qiong, a 36-year-old Shanghai resident, said she began donating directly to a girl in Gansu province after her daughter's used clothes were declined several times by organizations.

"It's a pity to throw away old clothes, but many charity institutions won't take them," Liang said.

Shanghai municipal government established more than 300 community donation offices in 2004. Jin Yimin, deputy director of an office in Putuo district, said they do not reject old clothes in the presence of donors - so as not to undermine their enthusiasm - but will discard them later.

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