Charity shops’ have a number of positive environmental impacts. They 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 2015, our members told us that 91% of clothing donated to their shops were recycled or sold on for reuse. Only 9% of materials donated to charity shops end up in landfill*.
Each charity shop diverts an average of 32 tonnes per annum of textiles from landfill, by a) selling them in the shop, or b) passing them on to textile merchants for recycling or reuse and over 331K tonnes of textiles are sent on for reuse and recycling by charity shops every year**. Based on 2015-16 landfill tax value at £82.6 per tonne, the value of textiles reused or passed for recycling by charity shops in terms of savings in landfill tax is over £27m per annum.
UK charity shops’ reuse and recycling activity helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions*** by about 6.9m tonnes per annum.
* Based on data from the Charity Retail Association Sources of Stock 2015 report.
** Based on data from the Charity Retail Association Quarterly Market Analysis 2015 and Sources of Stock 2015 reports.
*** Based on Greenhouse gas reporting – Conversion factors 2015