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Hongkongers Rescue over 730,000 Pieces of Recycled Clothing
High-quality Donation and Easily Accessible Family Stores Promote Recycling
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Hongkongers lack awareness for the environment? The charity sales statistics of The Salvation Army Family Stores (Family Stores) tell a different story. Over the past year, 730,000 pieces of abandoned clothing were ‘rescued’ in Hong Kong through The Salvation Army Recycling Programme. Hongkongers are willing to buy recycled products, and their support for green shopping is evident. In promoting the idea of recycling and reuse, quality of donated items and convenient location of our Family Stores are the two crucial factors: the former gives shoppers confidence in recycled products, whereas the latter promotes sustainable consumption and environmental protection.
 
Good quality items – A confidence boost for consumers
According to the charity sale records of Family Stores from April 2016 to March 2017, the sales volume of recycled clothing was 732,000, among which 378,000 pieces were second-hand and 354,000 brand-new. That means 2,000 pieces of recycled clothing were sold on average per day. In-kind donation is the source of second-hand clothing, whereas the brand-new ones are mostly samples or unsold stock from various corporates.
 
Mr Ronald Ho, Assistant Chief Operations Officer of The Salvation Army Recycling Programme said, ‘All goods of Family Stores come from in-kind donation from citizens and corporates. Here, we are giving these unused items or even those to be abandoned a second life. Items in good order and condition give our customers confidence on recycled products. Moreover, as they appreciate Salvation Army service, they are willing to shop in our Family Stores. In this way, they can help people in need while supporting green shopping.’
 
Entering the community helps promotion
There are 16 Salvation Army Family Stores in Hong Kong: 8 on Hong Kong Island, 6 in Kowloon and 2 in the New Territories. These Family Stores serve as channels of charity sale of various recycled products including clothes, shoes, stationeries, toys, books, household products, electrical appliances and accessories. Ronald shared, ‘Many people have never considered buying recycled products before. However, their views changed after visiting our Family Stores. Many of them even buy recycled products at the Stores and become green shoppers.’ Family Stores in Sai Wan Ho and To Kwa Wan were officially opened in July. The Army hopes to attract more customers in support of ‘Helping people with eco-shopping’.
 
Our customer Dorothy visits Family Stores weekly. She said, ‘I live nearby the Family Store. I’ll take a look at the Store whenever I pass by. Each visit is a surprise as the goods are not quite the same and different brands are available. Shopping here is just like a treasure hunt. It is also meaningful as I can help reduce waste as well as support charity work.’
 
Promote upcycling
In addition to promoting recycling and reuse, The Salvation Army has also been focussing on developing ‘upcycling products’ in recently years. Used fabrics are collected and delivered to The Salvation Army Heng On Integrated Vocational Rehabilitation Service, where service users with intellectual disabilities utilise these fabric wastes to create new products under their own brand-name ‘WeUse’. In cooperation with the Hong Kong Green Designers Association, recycled items incorporated in design are being upcycled and turned into fashionable apparels. ‘Consumption and environmental protection are not necessarily contradictory. We can still contribute to the environment by choosing recycled products or upcycling and reusing them’, said Ms Rebecca Leung, Chairlady of Hong Kong Green Designers Association.
 
About The Salvation Army Recycling Programme
After the big fire in the Shek Kip Mei squatter area in 1953, over 50,000 victims lost their homes. The Salvation Army called upon the community to donate clothing to provide for the victims’ needs. Since then, The Salvation Army’s work in recycling materials has impressed the community. Many citizens donate their clothes at the Army’s centres. To make good use of the donated items, since the 1960s, The Salvation Army Recycling Programme was established to systematically manage the donated clothes and goods. Donated items are sorted and distributed. Some will be directly sent to the people in need, such as elderly living alone, street sleepers, ex-prisoners and CSSA recipients. Others are sold in Family Stores. The net proceeds will go to The Salvation Army for use across its community programmes. 
According to The Salvation ...
According to The Salvation ...
Mr Ronald Ho, Assistant Chi...
Customer Dorothy finds shop...