Used Clothing is Big Business

Used Clothing is a huge business in the shipping industry. It is incredible how many companies ship used clothing or "rags" to other countries and make a great profit. Clothing is collected all over the United States for shipment abroad. The United Sates is a particularly good market for receiving used clothes since it is known for a lower level of wear before people get rid of their clothing. Once these companies receive the clothing, they take a few steps before sending. If they are reputable, they check through the clothing looking for holes, tears and stains before the clothes are then packaged in plastic and sorted by type or mixed for balance. Then they are separated into 100 pound bales and put into containers. Each container can hold about 500 or so bales if properly packaged. Once wrapped and stuffed into a container, they are shipped off for resale all over the world. Markets with demand include Africa, Europe, South American and the Middle East. Since these are lower budget items, most shipping lines have very low tariff rates for used clothing and rags. It may be a thousand US dollars less to ship rags than it would be to ship other commodities in the same trade lanes. This makes it much easier on the shippers financially and the shipping lines know they have some filler types of containers that they do not have as many considerations in transit. Once arriving at their destination, the consignee or buyer will take them away for resale. The amazing thing about the market is that as large as it is, there is so little known about it. Many people in the United States have no idea where their clothing ends up.