How To Take Action Against A Legacy Of Anti-Black Waste Colonialism

pile of clothes
Zain Murdock
September 21, 2023

In Accra, Ghana, a community called Kantamanto processes millions of clothing garments a week. Around 40% ends up in a landfill. Young children suffer carrying heavy loads into the secondhand market. But it isn’t their clothes. 

It’s, as they call it, “dead white man’s clothes,” from primarily the U.K. and U.S.

It’s just one example of waste colonialism. But though many feel powerless about pollution, climate change, and fast fashion, here’s how we can stop it.

One of the simplest ways is to buy less – of everything. Capitalism encourages overconsumption, but try seriously considering what you need and why before buying. Thrifting new clothes and repurposing and upcycling your old items also makes a difference.

To support Kantamanto’s clean-up, financial relief, outreach, and more, you can donate here:

You can stay updated with new action items here:

Lastly, knowledge is also power. Reading up on where your trash goes, waste colonialism’s history, and current events goes a long way, especially when you share with others.

After all, from reducing food waste in soul food dishes to repurposing every container under the sun, Black people across the diaspora have always found ways to be environmentally conscious as a part of our survival. We’re only keeping a tradition going. 

With our collective power, let’s fight to end waste colonialism for good.

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