Textile Recycling Association Relaunches Charity Shop Grade Specifications

The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) has today relaunched its specification for clothing that has been donated originally by the public to charity shops, which is then sold on to members of the Textile Recycling Association, rather than being retailed in store.  The specification which was originally launched in 2002, has been published annually and was widely upheld for a number of years.

During recent years it proved increasingly difficult to uphold the standard as increasing numbers of opportunist collectors were prepared to pay over inflated prices for increasingly poor quality clothing.  However, as the bubble has burst in the UK used clothing industry in 2014, with values dropping by around 40% since the beginning of the year, established used clothing collectors have become increasingly selective about what items they are prepared to take from charity shops and how they should be presented.   The review and relaunch of the Charity Shop Grade specification should provide greater clarity for staff at charity shops and to help them ensure that they get the best value for their goods.

Alan Wheeler (Director – TRA) said “throughout 2014, very difficult market conditions have made it necessary for used clothing collectors to reduce the prices that they can pay charity shops and be more selective about the items they take.  They can no longer pay high prices for low quality items.  If charity shops follow the revised specifications this should help them to negotiate favourable terms and ensure that they get a price that is commensurate with the market prices quoted by recycling trade press publications.”

Charities are also reminded that TRA members are required to uphold the association’s Code of Practice which covers collections from charity shops as well as other forms of collection.   Included in the code is a recommendation that TRA members carry a calibrated set of scales on board their collection vehicles.  This enables charity shop staff can to verify the weights collected before any clothing is taken away, and helps to ensure that the charity fulfils it legal obligations under weights and measures regulations.

In addition, a recent survey of charity shops  reported that 1 in 4 of the responding charities still receive some of their payments for charity shop grade clothing based on a price per bag.  The TRA recommend that any charity still receiving payments in this way should put a stop to this immediately and negotiate a price per kilo for all their used clothing.

Further Information
Contact: Alan Wheeler – Director
Tel: 0845 6008276