‘DO NOT fly-tip outside our shop!!’ reads the notice on the door of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation charity shop in Tolworth Broadway. The instruction has gone unheeded. Second-hand clothes are dumped in a huge pile which reaches right up to the letter box of the store which supports disabled people. They aren’t even in bags
‘DO NOT fly-tip outside our shop!!’ reads the notice on the door of the Queen Elizabeth’s Foundation charity shop in Tolworth Broadway.
The instruction has gone unheeded. Second-hand clothes are dumped in a huge pile which reaches right up to the letter box of the store which supports disabled people. They aren’t even in bags which would keep them dry and make it easier for a charity worker to move them out of the way to get to the front door.
Last week WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) published a report – Citizen Insights: Textiles and COVID-19 Survey – which found that two in five UK citizens (41%) have had a clear out of unwanted textiles and clothing during the Covid-19 lockdown, with the majority storing their items at home until lockdown lifts.
The sustainability group estimates that as many as 22 million pairs of shoes, and 67 million clothing items will soon be disposed via charity shops, collection banks and other donation routes.
Responses to the WRAP survey indicate during lockdown many took the opportunity to declutter their wardrobes. The majority wanted these items to go to good use and on average cleared out 11 items of clothing they no longer want and will donate once lockdown ends.
The research was undertaken using responses from 2,422 UK adults aged 18+, from May 22-24. Families with children at home (53% say they have cleared out textiles during the lockdown vs. 37% with no children at home), 18-34-year olds (50% vs. 33% of those aged 55+) and women (50% vs. 32% of men).
Clear-out behaviours during lockdown
- Around two in five (41%) have disposed of textiles during the COVID-19 lockdown – most commonly items of clothing (cited by 37%), followed by shoes/footwear (19%), bedding (12%), bags/handbags (10%), clothing accessories (10%) and household textiles (10%).
- Over half of the items – 57% – remain at home pending disposal after the lockdown ends, whereas 43% have already been disposed of. Bags/handbags and clothing are more likely to still be at home pending disposal (60% and 59%, respectively).
- Among those with items still to dispose of, almost half (49%) intend to dispose of one or more in a charity shop, followed by a charity bag collection (17%) and the general rubbish (14%).
On the upside the survey found that 50 per cent of people are avoiding generating clothing waste. That has risen by 20% in just two years.
WRAP has developed four simple messages to encourage people to recycle their clothing:
- Never put clothes in the bin – it’s bad for the environment.
- Always reuse or recycle via charity shops, textile banks, in-store collections, charity bags or council kerbside collections.
- Check whichever you use is open and operating. Call ahead or check online but never leave items if the shop or outlet is closed or inaccessible.
- If you can’t use one of the above at this current time, hold on to your items until you can.