WE Shops are charity shops based on donation and volunteers run by WE21 JAPAN, a certified Non-profit organization based in Hodohaya ward, Yokohama. There are 24 stores in Yokohama (52 stores throughout Kanagawa Prefecture), which are operated by WE21 JAPAN regional non-profit organizations.
WE Shops sell donated clothes and tableware. They receive about 100,000 donations annually, and store non-seasonal items at a distribution center “Eco-Mono Center” until the time of sale is reached. The profits generated from the sales go to the support for the lives and independence of people, mainly in Asia, as well as to holding courses and briefings to learn from supporting organisations. WE21 JAPAN calls this mechanism a charity shop.
If clothing and tableware could not be sold at WE shops, they are provided to recycling companies for further reuse and recycling. Moreover, collected mobile phones and tempura oil at the shop turn into a new product through the recycling companies. Items that are not suitable for reuse or recycling are disposed of as business-related garbage according to each local government’s regulation.
Local volunteers are involved in the operation of WE Shops, not only realizing the recycling of resources through reuse and recycling, but also functioning as a community space where diverse people living in the community get together and make connections.