The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) welcomes the publication by WRAP of their publication “Valuing our Clothes” which was launched at yesterday’s Clothing Roadmap conference in London. The study has taken a look at the environmental and economic impacts of clothing across all stages of its lifecycle from production and extraction of raw material, through to the final disposal of clothing.
The study reveals that there are a staggering 1.7 billion unused items of clothing sitting in UK wardrobes worth about £30 billion and that around 1/3 of all the clothes we buy end up being landfilled after their first owner has finished with them, when the garments could be re-used or recycled. On top of this other items end up being disposed of through incinerators.
“What this study helps to quantify is something that we have known for some time. Despite many people saying that they donate their clothing to charity or local authority run collections, many items of clothing just sit in the wardrobe for ages and then get thrown away. This is a terrible shame as it is a complete waste of resources and money. This is money that could be used by charities to deliver their important services, or local authorities may be able to use the revenue that they generate from their clothing collections to offset the costs of running other recycling services” said Alan Wheeler – National Liaison Manager for the TRA.
TRA President Ross Barry said “we are also very encouraged by the report’s findings that many members of the public are willing to consider buying re-used clothing. We have a fantastic network of charity shops in the UK, and we would like to continue working with WRAP, the Charity Retail Association and other stakeholders to encourage the public to donate and buy more clothing through these outlets.”
The TRA not only asserts that promoting further textile collections through charity shops, textile banks, door to door and other new ventures such as store take back schemes are really positive ideas which can help to reduce the UK’s carbon impact considerably, but they can also help to deliver cost effectiveness for local authorities that need to deliver efficient recycling services. They can also raise money for all kind of charities with or without shops.
What the public may not realise though are the employment benefits the re-used clothing industry brings to the UK. Collectively legitimate clothing collection businesses employ thousands of people in the UK, with the biggest collectors and sorters employing up to 500 people, making them some of the biggest employers in their regional area. So not only are clothing collections good for the environment and good for raising funds, but they promote and help to secure many jobs.
Contact: Alan Wheeler – National Liaison Manager
Tel: 0845 6008276