Code of practice for collectors, graders and exporters of used clothing

Last Updated: September 2020

This Code of Practice is structured in order to highlight what the Textile Recycling Association regards as a mandatory requirement for its members and what constitutes advice on best practice, this is also in addition to mandatory legal requirements of said Country.

In this Code a phrase where the word:

Must is in bold indicates a requirement that is mandatory requirement of the TRA.

Should in bold indicates a course of action that is recommended as best practice.

This Code of Practice applies to all members of the Textile Recycling Association operating throughout the UK. Legal requirements can vary between different jurisdictions
(England & Wales; Northern Ireland; Scotland).

All members must adhere to all the relevant legislation and laws governed by the appropriate country.

This Code will be revised periodically to take into account any developments or changes in the law. The most up to date version will be posted on the Textile Recycling Association website.


1. General Requirements

Members must:

  • have a valid Waste Carriers Licence if they engage in the collection and transportation of textile waste and other waste;
  • have a valid Environmental Permit or Exemption from Environmental Permitting if they handle, store or process textile waste or other waste;
  • have compulsory employers liability insurance and to have public liability insurance. Both these types of insurance policies to provide an appropriate level of cover based on size of company and industry requirements;
  • have a written Health and Safety policy and appropriate Risk Assessments ;
  • have a written Fire Risk Assessment;
  • take reasonable measures to ensure that they comply with legislation in the jurisdictions in which they operate.
  • not bring the textile reclamation industry into disrepute, or to undermine it, by for example engaging in inappropriate or illegal activities;
  • to have been trading legally and in a solvent manner for a period of not less than three years for full membership and one year for associate membership;
  • to be based at a fixed premises and be paying business rates or to have business rates included in any rent they pay to a landlord.
  • All members must be compliant with GDPR, (All sensitive data appropriately handled)
  • display the “TRA Logo” on their websites, and collection banks, you are permitted to display the “TRA Logo” on letter heads and publicity material at your discretion

Members should:

  • offer competitive market prices for any goods that buy from third parties and review their prices they pay regularly to ensure that they remain competitive and provide good value to their business partners


2. Charity Shop Collections

All members that engage in charity shop collections should be mindful of the Charity Retail Associations Code of Charity Retailing and its contents.

Members should also be mindful of the specifications for “Charity Shop Grade Clothing/Textiles which have been drawn up by the Textile Recycling Association. TRA members may wish to consider these specifications when negotiating with charity shops.

Members should also be aware of Weights and Measures regulations which require businesses that are not pre-packed to let their customers know the weight of the products before they pay. See

Legal Duty of Care

Under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) Charity Shop collectors must:

  • uphold all legal requirements placed upon them, including those under the Environmental Protection Act (1990);
  • hold a valid Waste Carriers Licence. This is because all goods which have been donated to charity shops but then which are then subsequently not sold in any of the charity’s shops are considered to be waste. As a producer of waste, all charity shop operators have a legal obligation to ensure that they pass on their waste to entities that are legally authorised to take that waste.
  • provide evidence, if they are requested by the TRA and charity shop operators, that they hold a valid Waste Carriers Licence or Environmental Permit (or Exemption from Environmental Permitting) or any other acceptable evidence that proves they are legally authorised to take waste;


Other Requirements of member organisations engaged in charity shop collections


  • must ensure that all collectors are 16 years of age or over and ensure that they follow their legal obligations;
  • must take reasonable steps to ensure collectors are fit and proper persons to collect;
  • must to ensure that they uphold all aspects of any agreements that they have with their charity shop partners;
  • should to take reasonable steps to ensure that collections are done using liveried vehicles which clearly identify the collection business and provide appropriate contact details;
    should seek written agreements with their perspective charity shop partners.
  • should have scales in their vehicle which meet the requirements of Weights and Measures Regulations, which can be used to weigh the goods collected before they are taken away from the shop and paid for.


Conduct of individual charity shop collectors

Collectors must:

  • carry suitable identity and produce this upon request by any appropriate staff member or volunteer at a charity shop.

Collectors should:

  • be courteous at all times; and
  • collect at the times agreed.


3. Clothing Bank Operators

Members that operate clothing/textile collection banks must:

  • obtain a written agreement from the land owner (or appropriate site management organisation) to place a clothing textile bank at a particular named site;
  • In the case of banks which are operated for the benefit of charities, contain solicitation statements that are compliant with the relevant legislation that is applicable in that particular nation of the UK where the banks are operated.
  • Display the “TRA Logo”
  • provide textile bank, painted finished to collectors or beneficiaries requirements;
  • clearly mark the bank with information identifying;
    • it is a clothing/textile bank,
    • service contact details,
    • the local authority/charity benefiting from the collection (including a charity number if appropriate),
    • types of material acceptable for collection in the bank
  • operate a regular collection timetable for the banks which meets the requirements of the landowner;
  • maintain the immediate area surrounding the bank;
  • monitor the sites to ensure collection patterns are adequate;
  • provide accurate records to the beneficiaries and land owners (if required) of the amount of clothing/textiles collected at each site;
  • make payments based on weights collected and in accordance with any agreement with beneficiaries.


4. Door to Door Clothing Collectors

All charitable door to door clothing collectors:

must comply with the 1939 House to House Collections Act (England and Wales) and other relevant legislation and any relevant legislation concerning licensing in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

must comply with all relevant waste legislation where such items might be considered waste. Relevant legislation includes the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

must uphold the standards set in the Code of Fundraising Practice for House to House Collections issued by the Institute of Fundraising and monitored by the Fundraising Standards Board.

must be mindful of the Advertising Standards Agency Guidance on door to door charity collection bags.

must be mindful of the guidance issued by the National Association for Licensing and Enforcement Officers on the licensing of charitable door to door collections of goods.

must to be transparent about their collections on their collection material.

In particular collectors’ publicity material must:

  • state clearly if the collection will benefit a charity/philanthropic cause and state if it is on behalf of a local authority or other body or state that it is for a commercial purpose only;
  • state clearly the name of any benefitting organisation and if appropriate a registered charity number;
  • state the trading name of the collection organisation;
  • make reference to how funds are being raised for charitable purpose (if appropriate) in the form of an appropriate solicitation statement, which must be in terms of Pounds Sterling.
  • To provide a registered company number (if appropriate);
  • To provide appropriate contact details and a website where the public can easily find an appropriate telephone number, address and e-mail address.


5. Collections from schools, community based organisations, retailers and other organisations

Collections from schools, community based organisations and retailers are becoming increasingly popular. They have the potential to raise significant funds for local groups. In the case of collections undertaken by retailers, they can be used to raise funds for
charity partners.

All members engaged in such activities must to:

  • ensure all collection staff are DBS checked and copy’s available on request
  • to secure and uphold an agreement with the relevant partner which includes a transparent mechanism for raising funds and clear terms of reference;
  • provide accurate records to the beneficiaries and land owners (if required) of the amount of clothing/textiles collected at each site:


6. Labour force

Members are required to ensure that all labour is suitably paid, provided with a safe working environment and therefore all workers are working in a safe and legal manner.

All members must:

  • Ensure all staff are remunerated appropriately and in line with government requirements
  • Have a anti-slavery policy and equal opportunity policy
  • Ensure all staff have been checked that they are allowed legible to work in the UK


Useful Links