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Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of ten of America's presidencies and who has edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. We get over 5 million article visits a year. See for full contents of our site

January 7, 2010


Jim Dwyer, NY Times - In the bitter cold on Monday night, a man and woman picked apart a pyramid of clear trash bags, the discards of the HM clothing store that reigns in blazing plate-glass glory on 34th Street, just east of Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.

At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M's back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.

. . . It is winter. A third of the city is poor. And unworn clothing is being destroyed nightly.

A few doors down on 35th Street, hundreds of garments tagged for sale in Wal-Mart - hoodies and T-shirts and pants - were discovered in trash bags the week before Christmas, apparently dumped by a contractor for Wal-Mart that has space on the block.

Each piece of clothing had holes punched through it by a machine.

They were found by Cynthia Magnus, who attends classes at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on Fifth Avenue and noticed the piles of discarded clothing as she walked to the subway station in Herald Square. She was aghast at the waste, and dragged some of the bags home to Brooklyn, hoping that someone would be willing to take on the job of patching the clothes and making them wearable.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman, Melissa Hill, said the company normally donates all its unworn goods to charities, and would have to investigate why the items found on 35th Street were discarded.

. . . This week, a manager in the H & M store on 34th Street said inquiries about its disposal practices had to be made to its United States headquarters. However, various officials did not respond to 10 inquiries made Tuesday by phone and e-mail.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 7, 2010 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in a suburb of Philadelphia PA there is a supermarket that also sells large quantities of prepared food. Not surprisingly, they often have a lot of unsold but still quite edible food at the end of the day. That which cannot be stored on site is thrown out and not given to charity. There is some sort of law which forbids this. I'm fairly certain that the law is supposedly in place to protect the indigent from bad food. Of course there is no law which prevents them from starving. That must be OK. So much for bureaucracy.

January 8, 2010 5:54 PM  
Blogger DrKeithCurrie said...

I think we should be helpful to poor people. At least we should give away anything before throw away or destroy.

January 9, 2010 11:15 AM  

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