Japan says no to SWEDOW (Stuff We Don’t Want)
Posted on March 29, 2011 at 4:23 am
This article in the Daily Yomiuri caught my attention. It’s titled Donors asked to observe simple rules when giving, and it lays out the issues arising with so many people donating goods throughout Japan. Donated goods are a problem after every disaster, and Japan is already facing many of these issues and working hard to prevent unwanted items from clogging the supply chain.
Here are some of my favorite passages out of the article:
“Even in disaster-hit areas, most people don’t want clothes worn out by someone else,” Matsuura said. “It’s absurd for people to send items they don’t want anymore. They should put themselves in other people’s position and carefully, compassionately consider what they need.”
“Many prefectural governments are limiting what kind of items they will accept in specific periods, as well as how those items can be delivered, to ensure that relief goods are distributed efficiently in disaster-stricken areas. For example, some local governments will not accept boxes sent by mail or courier service. They will only take items brought in person.”
“Furthermore, items sent by mail or courier service will be returned cash-on-delivery, according to the prefecture.”
“Please remember that not sending relief goods is also a wise option, if you think they would be a burden for disaster victims,” Takeuchi said.
I’m glad to see Japan getting on top of this issue so quickly. While well-intentioned, unwanted or inappropriate donated goods create a lot of problems. The article does a good job of laying out some of those problems.
Anyone looking to send over donated goods from other countries, please don’t. Those shoes, socks, and blankets that you are collecting are unnecessary and may well be turned away.