How do Chinese Residents Deal With Used Clothes?

How do Chinese Residents Deal With Used Clothes

How do Chinese Residents Deal With Used Clothes?

1Background introduction

Over the past ten years, along with Chinese residents’ growing demand for clothing and continuous improvement of living standards, the lifecycle of clothing is becoming shorter. Unfortunately, the pollution caused by clothing waste is becoming more and more serious. Every year, 13 million tons of clothing waste are generated globally, among which 1 million tons come from China.

Most people think clothing will not create as much pollution as other products, such as plastic, paper, and glass. Because the public has been aware of and studied the pollution caused by those products for a long time. However, compared to those products, clothing is even more challenging to recycle because it cannot be recycled and turned into raw materials like glass and paper.

Previously, Many articles have studied the factors affecting the disposal of used clothes by residents. In short, the three most important factors are environmental factors, economic factors, and the unavailability of information. Although there is no research showing any particular relationship between the education level of residents and the disposal of used clothes. Many studies do show that education level can affect many human behaviors. For example, some surveys show that the level of education significantly influences the decisions made by managers. The impact of education on people is evident in sustainable development, data processing, and moral sensitivity. In general, the level of education will affect people’s cognition. The higher the level of education, the stronger the control they have over their behavior. Based on these studies, I think education level impacts residents’ behavior in disposing of used clothes.

With the rapid economic development and the continuous improvement of people’s education level, people have begun to reuse old clothes for recycling. There is an upsurge of old clothes recycling in popular cities in China. Some old clothes recycling agencies have appeared, and some specialized Foreign trade companies that recycle and export used clothes at the recycling station, such as Guangzhou Zagumi Trading Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Zagumi Trading Co., Ltd. are one of the key recycling companies in China, which are engaged in exporting used clothes and used clothes to Africa, other regions, and other countries. Shoes, old clothes boxes and bags, the main source of old clothes is from communities, streets and public welfare recycling. Old clothes are screened by machines and manual layers, and they have received good feedback from customers in terms of quality.


Among the three factors mentioned above, environmental factors are the most thoroughly studied. Studies have shown that ecological awareness and donation behavior are positively related. If residents are more concerned about environmental issues, they are more willing to donate their clothing. In China, the attitude towards environmental protection is sometimes not the main reason for distinguishing between those who are eager to recycle used clothes and those who are unwilling to recycle used clothes. Instead, The cause is often because of the asymmetry of information. The unavailability of data means that residents cannot find an institution that can recycle used clothes, or there is no such institution at all. In China, the most severe problem is that very few institutions can recycle used clothing. Recycling clothing requires many procedures, thus will encounter many obstacles. In other words, even the residents are willing to donate used clothes, they probably will fail during this process for different reasons.  Most presented institutions and organizations only accept brand new or nearly brand-new garments because of the high cost of disposing of waste clothes.In China, due to the strong support of the state, even if there is information uncertainty in the recycling of used clothes, it is still feasible. In coastal cities in China, there are professional recycling bins for recycling. This is used clothes recycling. Re-used high-quality stable supply.

There is no research studying the relationship between the donation of used clothes and the education level of residents. However, some studies have found a correlation between the education level of blood donors and their behavior. They pointed out that the higher the level of education, the more willing the donors are to donate blood. Although these two donation behaviors are not precisely the same, they still have a lot in common, such as the donors’ moral standards and sacrifice spirit.


The resale of used clothes can bring double benefits to environmental protection and economic benefits. Selling used clothes is a kind of disposal method that is readily accepted by residents because the economic benefits will prompt residents to choose this kind of disposal method. The resale brings economic benefits and reduces residents’ demand for new clothing, thereby reducing environmental pollution caused by clothing waste. Research shows that almost half of Chinese households have over 30 pieces of clothes. Averagely, they buy more than 10 pieces of new clothes every year. More than 90% of the respondents said that new clothes will be left unused at home one year later, and only 25% said that a piece of clothing will be worn for more than three years.

In developed countries, there are many used clothing stores. Residents of these countries are inclined and convenient to choose used clothes stores to sell used clothes. However, the situation in China is quite different.For example, some foreign trade companies in Guangzhou, China,  Zagumi 、hissen、haichuan。There are mainly engaged in the recycling and re-export of used clothes.As of 2016, there are more than 8,000 recycling companies in China, but only a few are related to clothing recycling. Moreover, few Chinese will buy used clothes. They are constrained by hygiene and face issues. This has hindered the resale of used garments in China, making it more difficult to dispose of many hoarded used.

In China, the level of education is directly proportional to the income of residents, which means that the higher the education level of residents, the more money residents earn. Morley pointed out that residents are reluctant to buy used clothes of relatively poor quality because the usable value of such garments is too low. A similar situation occurs to the recycling institutions because the cost of disposing of this clothing is too high.


The most notable is that education level, donation behavior, and resale behavior are positively correlated, consistent with research in other fields. In other words, education level has a positive effect on human behavior. So well-educated residents are more willing to donate or resell their used clothes, which also illustrates the importance of education to the development of the country and society.

Environmental awareness is positively related to donation behavior and resale behavior. Thus, the more vital residents’ environmental awareness, the more willing they are to donate or resell used clothes. With more people aware of the importance of environmental protection, more channels are set up to increase residents’ awareness of environmental protection, recycling used clothes will rise. To kill two birds with one stone, publicity alone is not enough. The experience of developed countries shows that establishing and enhancing our environmental protection legal system is a prerequisite coercive method.

Economic factors are the most critical factor that prompts residents to sell again. An expected result shows that residents will resell used clothes to gain financial benefits or reduce losses. Other studies show that consumers’ desire to buy will decline if the value of used clothes is too low. Based on the existing situation, the government should strongly support the low-end used clothes trading market and encouraging residents to be more willing to sell their relatively low-end used garments.

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