This Is Where the Biggest Pile of Laundry in the World Resides

It’s a towering textile mountain that rivals Everest
This Is Where the Biggest Pile of Laundry in the World Resides

Helped along by the superpower of clinical depression, Ive created some pretty monstrous laundry piles in my day — the kind that end up turning into a full-day gauntlet that approaches the forced labor of a prison laundry room. Especially in places like New York City where in-unit laundry is a luxury, you can end up carting an incredible amount of garments back and forth in numbers that feel like a ketchup truck crashed into a Goodwill and youre in charge of getting every piece of clothing back in a salable state.

Of course, these personal piles pale in comparison to the sort of collective waste that the human population becomes better at pumping out every year. In the same vein as overflowing landfills or floating islands of single-use plastic, theres also a place in the world where theres a giant mountain of filthy clothes from across the globe. Its in Ghana, near whats known as the Korle Lagoon, and its by all accounts an unpleasant place in most physical senses. What its mostly made up of is donated clothes. Despite the obvious truth that theres millions of needy people all over the planet, the simple fact is that some things are, truly, trash.


Thats a lot of Tide pods.

Throwing clothes away feels bad, and thats led to any number of usually fun-colored trash-can alternatives that promise theyll go to good use. If youve ever filled a bag with old clothes to carry to Goodwill or a charity dropbox, though, you know there were probably a few items in there that you could not, in good faith, argue are fit for future wear. Mixed in with T-shirts youve outgrown are likely a couple pieces of clothing that were bottom-of-the-barrel in terms of quality to begin with, that eventually fell so low as to not even earn time as a sleep shirt. It turns out, those same standards usually hold when theyre considered a donation.

The clothes worth distributing or selling are skimmed off the top as the clothes in question make their way from stop to stop, until whats left is nothing more than raw material. At this point, some of it is torn up and repurposed into things like cheap blankets distributed in disaster areas, and likely thrown away once again after that. Ghana is the final stop for threads with nothing left to give, as the country receives 63.5 million kilograms of used clothes a year.

And yes, by all accounts, it smells just as bad as youd imagine.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?