Textiles in European Cities

As the influential voice of charity retail, we are often invited to national events which touch upon the work of the sector.

The most recent example came on Tuesday 4 December, when I travelled to the South Staffordshire Business Hub to attend a day long conference on “Used Textile Collection in European Cities”.

The event was organised by our regular partners at The Chartered Institute of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP).

There was an impressive list of speakers who gave ten presentations between them.

Highlights included: an overview of textile collections in various European cities from a representative of the Dutch Government; information on the “Love not Landfill” campaign which has made an impact in London, and; a presentation on charity collection from the British Heart Foundation.

An academic from the University of Leeds also explained all about the process of recycling and the difficulties recyclers face when trying to extract colour and deal with a small cohort.

For these reasons many promoted the idea of Extended Producer Responsibility, as has been used extensively on the continent, to ensure that manufacturers take sustainable decisions at the point of production.

There was also time for a brainstorming session where everyone could contribute some ideas about how to boost textile collections in the UK.

Overall I was pleased that several speakers mentioned the positive role of charity retail as part of the answer if we want to decrease the amount of textile waste going to landfill, and emphasised our positive environmental impact.

The work we have done to promote this message is clearly paying off!

Matt Kelcher
Head of Public Affairs and Research