Freegan Founder Posts Heartwarming Video Of ‘Clothes Lohei’ In Philippines For Items Trashed By Singaporeans

Singapore’s OG dumpster-diver. Esteemed mentor of the guy who spent $8 a year on food.

With numerous LV bags and flatscreen TVs from Singapore’s trash cans to his name, Freegan founder Colin Lau has been keeping himself busy to say the least.

His ongoing charity work in the Philippines involves domestic helpers and their families, who gladly receive donations in clothes and fresh linen.

But he certainly didn’t expect this passionate response.

Mr Lau shared a heartwarming video with MustShareNews of the chaotic and joyous clothes ‘Lohei Party’ that ensued.

A charity project run by the Freegan community, they’re currently running out of a one-bedroom storage facility.

And are only accepting donations within their community at the moment.

Here’s his touching write-up – posted in their group – in full.


Culture shock

Colin shares that he first started shipping clothes he found in dumpsters to Philippines, about two years ago.


On the onset, he did not expect his recipients to “grab everything like crazy”.

As a Singaporean living a comparatively sheltered life, he simply found the scenario hard to believe.


Likewise, the Filipinos he crossed paths with, also found it unbelievable that anyone would “give used items for free”.

He quipped humourously, they even used to “stare at each other in total disbelief”.

Our trash is often what they can’t afford

Mr Lau then shares the video, describing it as how “the poor react when our donations arrive in the Philippines”.

More specifically, the scene unfolded because a domestic helper took some stuff he found in dumpsters, and shipped them back home.


In the video, her neighbours and family engage in a ‘clothes lohei’ party to bag up items they wish to bring back.


From the incident, he says he’s learnt an important lesson,

What we throw away is what they cannot afford.

Don’t anyhow throw away

Colin pleads for Singaporeans not to throw away “good condition clothes, bed sheets and blankets” or keep them in the house as “unused clutter”.


Instead, the Freegan society has been working tirelessly to pack and ship things they collect in dumpsters, over to those in need.

A lean operation for now

Currently, they’re unable to accept public donations due to a lack of budget and storage facilities.

The close-knit Facebook group, however, hopes to keep operations lean by continuing to accept donations within the Freegan community.

We understand from Colin that if they can afford a warehouse space in the future, perhaps they may consider opening it up.

Members of the public who urgently want to contribute in cash or kind, may request to join the Freegans on Facebook.

Waste not, want not

We sometimes forget our many privileges, as we’re preoccupied with other day-to-day concerns.

But now that you know the true value of our trash, you may wanna resist that urge to engage in yet another Taobao haul.

Especially if your cupboards are already bursting at the seams.

Who knows, by donating your unwanted items to charities instead of throwing them away, you may fill the hearts and souls of someone else in need.

Featured image from Colin Lau.