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Kantamanto Market: At One of the World’s Largest Clothing Dumps, Textiles Are Getting a New Lease on Life                           

Textile waste is an enormous environmental problem in Africa thanks to the enormity of the global second-hand clothing business. Millions of used garments enter the continent weekly, but only a small fraction end up getting sold, resulting in the remainder clogging landfills and waterways. Attempting to combat the problem, the Or Foundation is working on inventive ways of repurposing the clothing scraps, which aids the environment and creates jobs. Kennie MacCarthy works with a team of young women who used to be “kayayei” – female head porters – at Kantamanto, who now make mops from unsold t-shirts. The team has made several hundred mops and is now working on ways to scale up production. As they continue refining the manufacturing process, a separate team at the Or Foundation will train the apprentices on the basics of running a business. MacCarthy’s team is dedicated to dealing with waste already in Ghana, but other workers at the Or Foundation focus on preventing clothes from arriving in the first place.