The Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association research shows that waste within the Ghanaian second hand clothes trade dramatically lower than claimed

ACCRA, Ghana, May 13, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — New academic research released today from the West African country of Ghana shows that waste in the second hand clothes sector (SHC) is dramatically lower than has been previously claimed.


New data-driven report shows the second-hand clothing market's contribution to the global circular economy and a robust and sustainable ecosystem


The report released by the Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association, showed that less than 5% of the second hand clothing imported into Ghana could be considered waste.

The data-driven report is the first such academic study and proves that the second-hand clothing market in Ghana is a robust and sustainable ecosystem that contributes towards the global circular economy.

Speaking on the report Edward Atobrah Binkley, General Secretary of the Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association said:

“The continued use of inaccurate information circulating in some parts of the media about the second hand clothes trade must stop.

“Those who’ve spent years using and repeating false and inaccurate figures about waste in the trade should apologise now for the damage they have done and the harm they have caused.

“This report shows that the trade is low waste and an essential part of the global circular economy, providing a solution to the challenges of climate change and waste the world faces, as well as the over consumption of fast fashion that is wreaking damage on a global scale.

“It is also pivotal to Ghana’s economy and way of life, providing affordable clothing to millions while supporting livelihoods across the nation and contributing significantly to Ghana’s government tax revenues.

“Policy makers should be extremely cautious before they further regulate an already well run and regulated, global trade based upon bad data and misleading figures.”

The report launched today in Accra found that the SHC trade in Ghana serves as a cornerstone of the nation’s retail landscape, deeply ingrained in its cultural and economic fabric. The industry has evolved into a dynamic ecosystem, providing affordable clothing options to consumers while also supporting a significant proportion of Ghanaian livelihoods, stimulating economic activity and fostering entrepreneurship.

It also found that the trade was a noteworthy example of the circular economy in action; reducing waste, promoting resource efficiency and enabling sustainable consumption. The second hand clothes trade is an  antidote to the detrimental effects of the global fast fashion industry which promotes exploitative labour practices, environmental degradation, excessive waste generation, and unsustainable consumption patterns.

The report examined the multifaceted nature of Ghana’s SHC industry, exploring its economic contributions, demographic dynamics, and socio-environmental implications, while also highlighting opportunities for sustainable growth and development.

The research, which found that on average a maximum of 5% of clothing in imported bales could be considered waste, demonstrated that the prevailing international perception is not only wrong, but economically unsound and deeply patronising.

It asks significant questions of the prevailing narrative and should lead policy makers in the Global North to re-examine some of the unhelpful cultural assumptions they may have made about the ability of Africans to make informed choices and our agency in the SHC trade.

This research dismantles many of the negative perceptions of the SHC trade, while asking serious questions of activists and governments about what has led them to uncritically accept and propagate a misleading narrative around waste.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

Notes to editors: 

For media enquiries or more information please contact the Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association at:, +447759764174, +233540946151

The Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association

The Ghana Used Clothing Dealers Association is the representative body for all used clothes, bags and shoes dealers and importers in Ghana and was created to represent all used clothes, bags and shoes traders, independent of any external control or authority.

The Association was established to ensure the organisation of all used clothes, bags and shoes importers and dealers in Ghana into a unified association and serve as their advocate and to uphold the dignity and promote the general welfare of importers, wholesalers and retailers of all used clothes, bags and shoes importers and dealers in Ghana.

The association provides an effective means of communication between used clothes, bags and shoes importers and dealers and the government as well as various stakeholders.

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