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).
  • In 2013, our members told us that 96% of materials donated to their shops were recycled or sold on for reuse. Only 4% of materials donated to charity shops end up in landfill (1).
  • Each charity shop diverts an average of 34 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 347,000 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 2013-14 landfill tax value at £72 per tonne, the value of textiles reused or passed for recycling by charity shops in terms of savings in landfill tax is £25,053,000 p.a.
  • UK charity shops' reuse activity alone helps reduce CO2 emissions by about 7.3m tonnes p.a.

1 Based on data from the Charity Finance "Charity Shops Survey" 2013 and Charity Retail Association Quarterly Market Analysis 2013

2 Based on data from the Charity Finance "Charity Shops Survey" 2013 and Charity Retail Association Quarterly Market Analysis 2013

3 Recycling of Low Grade Clothing Waste, Oakdene Hollins et al, September 2006

Top

 

Updated: 23 December 2013