Here’s the journey of old clothes taken by traders and ragpickers.
What’s it about? The used clothes market at places like Thidal, Ambattur, and Tambaram have prevented about 2,000 tonnes of rags from being dumped in landfills each week. More than 500 wholesale traders in the city collect clothes from 20,000 ragpickers and pay them up to 6 rupees per piece. They’re sold to factories and mills.
- Some of the clothes that can still be worn are washed and sold at roadside markets. Others are converted into mats and cleaning cloths for factories across the country.
Challenges: The used clothes trade has challenges. The Corporation has planned to regularise them, but nothing has happened yet. Also, higher rents and GST have hit business.
Who said what? Pasha Hayath Bhai of the second-hand cloth market welfare association said they now earn only ₹4-5 per kilo of clothes. The maximum sales price is ₹15-20 per piece. Afroz Khan, a researcher with citizen consumer and civic action group, said without ragpickers, NGOs and the government wouldn’t be able to recycle properly.