Charity shops and the environment
- Charity shops provide a second life for an increasing range of items, including books (with more specialist charity bookshops opening every year), CDs, DVDs, toys, furniture, bric-a-brac and electrical items (where these can be tested first).
- As well as the public donating items to shops, through large scale door-to-door collections, charity shops collect over 15m sacks of textiles and other materials from UK households every year.
- In total 1.9m households are given the chance to reuse and recycle unwanted items each week.
- 98% of materials donated to charity shops are recycled or sold on for reuse. It is estimated that only 2% of materials donated to charity shops end up in landfill(1).
- Each charity shop diverts an average of 28 tonnes p.a. of textiles from landfill, by a) selling them in the shop, or b) passing them on to textile merchants for recycling or reuse.
- Over 363,000 tonnes of textiles are sent on for reuse and recycling by charity shops every year(2).
- Reuse of clothing saves 29kg CO2e per kg of clothing compared to recycling and 33kg CO2e compared to disposal(3).
- Based on 2010 landfill tax value at £48 per tonne, the value of textiles reused or passed for recycling by charity shops in terms of savings in landfill tax is £17,242,000 p.a.
- UK charity shops' reuse activity alone helps reduce CO2 emmissions by about 6.3m tonnes p.a.
1 Based on data from the Charity Finance "Charity Shops Survey" 2009 and Association of Charity Shops Quarterly Market Analysis 2010
2 Based on data from the Charity Finance "Charity Shops Survey" 2009 and Association of Charity Shops Quarterly Market Analysis 2010
3 Recycling of Low Grade Clothing Waste, Oakdene Hollins et al, September 2006
Updated: 7 October 2013