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Charity shop waste: our submission to Government

As frequently highlighted on this blog, it is one of our campaign priorities to ensure that charity shops can dispose of the small percentage of donated stock they cannot sell, for free at their local household waste recycling centre.

We take every opportunity to keep this issue on the government’s agenda, and recently responded to DEFRA’s Consultation on Consistency in Household and Business Recycling Collections in England.

Our submission summarised the legal position on charity shop waste and urged the government to use the opportunity to promoting consistency in household and business recycling to also promote consistency in charity shop waste.

In addition, we also recommended that the government should promote charity shop partnerships with councils to boost rates of re-use and recycling.  Our submission gave the examples of two local authorities which have established mutually beneficial partnerships which save both sides money.  We believe only central government has the influence to ensure these partnerships are replicated across the country.

The consultation also asked for views on whether businesses and other organisations should be required to report data on their waste recycling performance.  We broadly agree with this idea, as we would any policy which promotes recycling.

However, we urged the government to remember that re-use is better for the environment than recycling and is consequently placed higher on the waste hierarchy.  Currently there is nothing in place to measure re-use rates.  We think this should be changed by requiring reporting on re-use and recycling.  We believe such a step would also encourage more organisations to work with charity shops to re-use items they no longer require. You can read this submission, and all of our consultation responses dating back to 2016 on the dedicated page of our members website.

Matt Kelcher
Head of Public Affairs and Research
Charity Retail Association