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 March 2017, our members told us that 95 per cent of clothing donated to their shops were recycled or sold on for reuse. Only 5 per cent of materials donated to charity shops end up in landfill*.
Each charity shop diverts an average of 29 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 327K tonnes of textiles were sent on for reuse and recycling by charity shops in 2017/18**. Based on the landfill tax value at £84.4 per tonne for 2016/17 and £86.1 per tonne for 2017/18, the value of textiles reused or passed for recycling by charity shops in terms of savings in landfill tax is over £28m per annum.
UK charity shops’ reuse and recycling activity helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions*** by about 7m tonnes per annum.
* Based on data from the Charity Retail Association Sources of Stock 2017 report.
** Based on data from the Charity Retail Association Quarterly Market Analysis 2017/18 and Sources of Stock 2017 reports.
*** Based on Greenhouse gas reporting – Conversion factors 2017