Every year in Germany, around one million tons of old clothes are put into old clothes containers or collections. And even if sustainable consumption suggests buying less and wearing clothes longer, there are understandable reasons for parting with clothing and shoes. The crucial questions then are where and in what condition do I hand in my clothes that are no longer needed.
Cutting up and disposing of intact clothing to avoid supposed profiteering is certainly the worst. After all, passing on used clothing is not only a win-win for low-income people, it's also good for the eco-balance due to the longer resource usage. Likewise, you shouldn't throw everything into just any container without knowing the operators. Clues for reputable collectors can be found in the location search of FairWertung e.V., the umbrella organization of non-profit organizations that collect old clothes. Anything that you would carry on yourself is in good hands with such organizations. Anything that is heavily soiled or damaged, on the other hand, should be disposed of with household waste. In many cities and communities, waste disposal companies have also set up containers into which fabric remnants and broken clothing can be expressly thrown. It is worth taking a look at the label.
An increasingly popular way to pass on good clothing is to donate clothes in a package with free shipping to the German Clothing Foundation. With DHL or GLS, you can always find a drop-off option nearby. And packing them out of the closet and into the box creates a good feeling and grows the certainty that everything will benefit social projects.
We receive clothing donations in various ways, be it in parcels, via containers or through collection campaigns. All incoming donations of clothing are inspected and then used for their intended purpose. Every single piece of clothing has to be taken in hand and looked at carefully. This strenuous work requires a high level of concentration throughout. Sorting is done according to season, gender, size and quality. Moreover, we do not only collect and distribute clothing. Shoes, household linen such as towels or bedding, and accessories such as belts, handbags, scarves and shawls, hats and gloves are also important components of our charitable work.
In doing so, we are pleased that people are aware of our concerns. After all, we are not a recycling company or a waste disposal company. We need good, further wearable clothes and shoes for our humanitarian aid. Most of the donated items meet this criterion. Thus, we can provide aid in accordance with our slogan "For warmth and dignity". After all, our aim is not only to provide clothing to protect the needy from the cold, etc., but to let them participate in social life, i.e. not to offer them worn-out, worn-out or unfashionable clothing that stigmatizes and excludes. Again and again we receive thank-you letters and feedback that the recipients of the donations are very happy about the quality of the clothes. We would like to pass on our thanks to all supporters who donate good, partly new clothes and shoes, household linen and accessories.
Last but not least, our hard-working sorters are also very happy to have such conscientious donors. They are happy when they receive washed, clean textiles and shoes during their immediate physical work. After all, one hears and reads in the media again and again about worn clothing, garbage and dirt, which also affects other donations and impairs the manual work. So it's nice when we open one package after another here and each time a pleasant scent is emitted and shiny clothes are revealed, which you are happy to pass on. Thank you very much!
The transport of relief supplies to those in need is, of course, an important component of humanitarian aid. Here, too, sustainability is a key factor. This is particularly evident in efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Within Germany, we have established the diaconal cycle. Here, we bring urgently needed assortments of clothing to clothing stores and social institutions. Thanks to our precise sorting, we can deliver exactly what is needed in the respective location. In return, we take away donations that are not needed there. Many clothing stores and social buying centers receive donations directly, but they either do not store them or simply cannot use them. Our cooperation partners appreciate the possibility to pass on the donations entrusted to them in a charitable way and our transporter avoids empty runs.
Efficient procedures are also required for the international transport of relief supplies. The sorted clothing is therefore neatly folded and then pressed into bales. Weighing around 50 kg, up to 150 items of clothing form a cube with an edge length of around 55 cm. These are easy to load and guarantee better utilization of the loading area than banana cartons could. And since the bales are further pressed separately according to the sorted groups (men's, women's, children's clothing, summer, winter, household laundry, etc.), it is also ensured that the aid transports are not too one-sided. Shoes, for example, are of course not pressed, but packed in bags or boxes.
By the way, sustainable aid also includes the decision not to work worldwide. From our point of view, it does not make sense to bring clothing donations to the Pacific region, for example, because of the costs, the ecological burden of long-distance transport, and also because of the suitability of the donations. In the case of serious disasters, natural catastrophes or similar situations, a monetary donation and supplies from the region are more appropriate.
We support people in Germany and internationally with the clothing donations entrusted to us. In doing so, the help goes far beyond deliveries in acute emergency situations. The development of structures and the establishment of charitable institutions are important components. Several goals for sustainable development of the Agenda 2030 are being pursued.
In all projects, we have local cooperation partners who receive and distribute the donations. In Germany, for example, these are diaconal clothing stores, city or train station missions; internationally, they can be church congregations or NGOs. This has many advantages. For one thing, there are no costs associated with the travel and accommodation of helpers. In addition, the organizations know the respective (legal, cultural, etc.) conditions for the distribution. However, it is important and guaranteed by controlling that we work with serious and reliable partners.
In several projects (currently in Kaliningrad and Albania) we help organizations with know-how and resources to build up their own aid structures. In addition to combating poverty, we also promote decent and productive employment. Thus, in partnership-oriented development cooperation, clothing collection points and charity stores are set up to accept donations on site and to finance further aid. In this way, people are brought into employment and at the same time opportunities for textile aid are expanded. According to the basic principle of "helping people to help themselves", people are enabled to build a qualitatively better life for themselves.
In England, the first charity store was opened in the last century. And while there are only a few stores of this kind in this country, a large industry has developed there. Charity stores help charities, the environment and the community in a variety of ways.
The income generated by the various charity stores funds medical research, development aid, hospices, homeless shelters or environmental initiatives, among other things. In the case of the German Clothing Foundation, Zweimalschön's income goes to fund the collection, sorting and preparation of relief goods for the projects. Consumers also benefit with every purchase. Zweimalschön stores are a reliable source of inexpensive but high-quality products.
The benefits for the environment are obvious. Selling used goods prevents them from ending up in landfills. Considering that the production of garments uses thousands of liters of water, disposing of things that can continue to be worn cannot be a solution. Similarly, the conservation of resources is important for shoes, books and household goods, which are also offered at Zweimalschön.
And those who volunteer at Zweimalschön experience other benefits: they can make new friends and acquire new skills, gain work experience and enhance their resumes, or shape their "unretirement." The volunteers, like the stores themselves, act as brand ambassadors and spread the word about our organization's goal: to help people with appropriate clothing.