British news outlet The Times reported that luxury brand Burberry burned £28 million ($37.8 million) worth of unwanted products over the past year, and has wasted more than £90 million ($116.9 million) in the last five years. The reason? Burberry does not want any of its products sold at a discounted price, lest they get into the hands of the “wrong people.”
With the U.S. dumping millions of pounds of clothing waste into landfills every year, Burberry’s choice to burn clothes is far from ecologically responsible. While 85% of clothing and textiles can be recycled, 95% of it gets trashed, making up 9% of total waste in the U.S. as of 2018. Wasting clothing harm people who are underprivileged and lack the ability to purchase clothing at a full price, many of whom shop at second-hand stores such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army which rely on clothing donations.
But Burberry’s decision is even more disturbing, considering why they want to rid of excess. Their choice is deliberately discriminatory against people who may not fit a “wealthier” stereotype; likely people of color, rural residents, and those of the middle and working class. God forbid should a Burberry trench coat be seen on the back of a blue-collar worker in middle America, right?
In 2017, Burberry was valued at $4.2 billion. They have enough business; they don’t need consumers to buy their products at a discounted price. They evidently can afford to waste. So let them waste customers too.
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