Our Wayne has just landed back from a US buying trip with one of our suppliers and he's already off to the opposite side of the world to buy more! Sounds like fun but you've got to remember he only has a week or so to comb through a mountain of clothing - it's non stop work, all day every day! He buys 8-10 tonne at a time and he inspects every single item at some point, quickly making a snap decision as to whether it's a nice enough piece and whether it's in good enough condition. We can't imagine how many items he gets through, has to be tens of thousands!
Our suppliers will show him anything they think he might be interested in, sometimes they're in big cages, sometimes they're in sacks or boxes or emptied onto big tables. He literally picks through them, one by one, throwing good finds to one side and rejects to another.
Anything he doesn't want will be returned to the supplier, where they'll show it other potential buyers (not just vintage traders, there's many industries which use second hand materials!)
If nobody shows any interest, it's usually sent for recycling, where it can be reused and repurposed again & again, ensuring it stays out of landfill.
Our suppliers source their clothing from around the globe themselves, often buying wholesale donations from charities who receive far too many items to process themselves. Some waste processing plants have also developed in-house recycling schemes where the good thrown into bins & skips are sorted so they can be better recycled rather than just dumped in landfill. They'll then sell any textiles on, along with glass, plastics etc and any remaining waste can then be converted into fuel to power the local communities. Long gone are the days where anything and everything is shoved into a hole in the ground, though landfills do still exist, the processes for preventing goods ending up there are better than ever!