23 Jun 2009

Would you like to help us raise money and at the same time, help the environment? Wouldn't it be great if you could achieve both aims without it costing you a bean? If you think so, read on.

Our Community Fundraising & Retail teams are launching a new and exciting initiative. Quite simply, we are looking for churches and other suitable sites to agree to take one of our modern, bright Textile Banks. Once located, we're calling on our supporters to throw any unwanted textiles, clothes, shoes, belts and bags into the Bank. We will either sell the contents in one of our shops or to a recycling merchant. The great news is that even things that have seen better days will not be wasted because if it can't be re-used then it will be recycled.

Paul Tate, Merchandise Manager takes up the story "despite all we know about the need to protect the environment, the UK is still responsible for dumping over a million tonnes of textiles into landfill sites last year. The real shame is that textiles, even those in poor condition have a value, so our Textile Banks represent a great opportunity to raise money and reduce landfill.

"We hope our supporters will do what they can to help us site the banks in Churches, Schools, Universities - really any sites that allow access to the general public".

For decades now, charity shops have been at the forefront of re-use and recycling, but many of our supporters may not know what happens to textiles that fail to find a buyer. The Retail shops and Textile Banks will inevitably find themselves with textiles they cannot sell. In fact last year the 74 shops generated over 1000 tonnes of unsalable textiles. Last year Retail made £530,000 from recycling alone. 

Recycling Merchants sort the textiles before exporting the vast majority to African and Asian countries where they are repaired and traded. Paul Tate added, "we are naturally concerned to ensure our recycled textiles do not have a detrimental effect on the countries they are exported to. Ghana in particular imports vast quantities of recycled textiles so I visited it about nine years ago. My experience was that our textiles create a huge and sustainable industry, employing many tens of thousands of people. We also continue to consult Oxfam so are satisfied that recycled textiles have a positive effect in the countries they are exported to, particularly those with poor purchasing power".

If you would like to know more about our Textile Banks, please call our Supporter Action Line on 0845 300 1128.