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67 mn clothes could be discarded by UK homes post lockdown

Jun '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
The British public is set to dispose of 67 million clothing items as the country comes out of lockdown, according to a survey by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a UK charity, which recently said two in five citizens had a clothing clear-out during lockdown and most are storing items to donate to help charitable organisations.

The survey suggested that the equivalent of 184 million textile items had been cleared out, and the majority (57 per cent) are still at home to be disposed as lockdown ends.

The most common textile items the public sorted out during lockdown are clothes (37 per cent) with outerwear making up the bulk–particularly tee-shirts, blouses, jumpers, hoodies and sweaters. People have also spent time sorting through their unwanted shoes (19 per cent), bedding (12 per cent), bags and handbags (10 per cent), accessories (10 per cent) and household textiles (10 per cent).

WRAP 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.

The sustainability body has published its findings to help the charitable sector, local authorities and recyclers prepare for the expected influx of textiles likely to be donated to charity shops and via other donation routes, as these begin to reopen over the coming weeks, said a WRAP press release.

WRAP’s survey found two-thirds of people are choosing to donate their clothes to help charities, and to make it easier to manage the expected influx, WRAP has produced advice for people wishing to donate, which is being promoted through its Love Your Clothes campaign.

The simple steps will help ensure that any unwanted items find a new home through donation, and help people do the right thing without overwhelming staff at charity shops.

WRAP’s survey also found that the proportion of people concerned by the environmental impacts of clothing, and actively committed to stopping clothing waste, has risen from 31 per cent of the population in 2017 to 50 per cent by 2020.

But WRAP warns as many as 14 per cent of people will dispose of their unwanted clothes in the general rubbish; and of those who’ve already cleared out their closets more than one in three (36 per cent) used the general rubbish.

Apart from sharing with the charitable and recycling section, WRAP is also sharing its findings with signatories to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 commitment (SCAP 2020) to help support messaging by retailers and brands encouraging people to donate textiles through in-store collections; which are an often-underused route for recycling clothing.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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