Don't bin it - trade it at Bay-wide clothing swap

Michelle Duncan with items of clothing ready to be swapped.
Megan Hunt

Michelle Duncan with items of clothing ready to be swapped.

What happens to our clothes once we finish with them? And how are they made in the first place?

One Hawke's Bay woman is on a mission to help people avoid landfills, while answering some questions about the journey garments take before arriving in stores.

Michelle Duncan is organising Swap for Good, a clothing swap evening and film screening at Clive School next month.

"About six months ago I watched The True Cost - I felt quite depressed afterwards," she said.

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The documentary, which  explains the impact of modern clothing production on people and the planet, inspired her to organise the event.

Often appearance and price were the main considerations for people when buying clothes, but the environment and conditions for people making the items could also be factors.

In the week leading up to the event, held at Clive School Hall on May 6, people can drop up to 10 items to trade at Willis Legal in Hastings, Havelock North Library, Eskdale School, Clive School, and Napier and Taradale libraries.

These will be sorted and arranged for the evening which runs from 7pm to 10.30pm with the swap running for an hour, followed by a short talk and screening of  The True Cost.

"[The swap] is the fun part," she said, as the film was a challenging watch.

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People can register online for $25 or $30 cash on the night.

"Until people start dropping off items I don't know what the volume [of clothes] will be, but if I get more interest than I expected that's a good problem to have," she said.

Previously she worked at a Hastings waste and recycling company where she became interested in product stewardship -  where  a company is responsible for products right through to disposal, which was a concern for old clothing.

Hastings District Council receives 450 tonnes of textile waste at its landfill each year.

Cranford Hospice has loaned  clothing racks and will receive any remaining clothes for op shops along with a portion of profits.

Money raised with also go towards social enterprise Freeset, which provides jobs and skills making clothing for women in Kolkata, India, previously trapped in the city's sex trade.

The third charity being supported was the Uplift Bras Project, with a separate collection for regular and maternity bras of all sizes, plus swimwear for women in developing countries.

 - Stuff

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