Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes
1. What happens to clothes donated to a Salvation Army Trading Company clothing bank or collection bag?
2. Are any of the clothes shredded?
3. Where can I find clothing banks?
4. What happens to the profits?
5. Can I donate clothes as a result of bereavement?
6. What sort of items are collected and recycled through the scheme?
7. What happens to high quality items that are donated?
8. I want my donation to help local people in need – is The Salvation Army the best charity to ensure this happens?
9. Clothes are so cheap now, what is the point of recycling?
10. What is your relationship with Kettering Textiles?
11. Can I donate directly to a charity shop?
12. What happens to the profit from the charity shops?
13. How does the door-to-door scheme work?
14. Can I arrange for donations to be collected from my home?
16. How do you justify the environmental effects of transporting clothing overseas?
17. What percentage of clothing collected by SATCoL is sent overseas?
The clothing is picked up by local collectors and transported to a central facility in Kettering to be checked for waste or soiled items. From here some items are sent to our network of charity shops to be sold and some are used to meet humanitarian needs identified by The Salvation Army including helping victims of natural disasters such as flooding. Happily we collect many more clothes than can be used to stock our shops or satisfy any needs identified by The Salvation Army, so the bulk is exported to other countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, where it provides clothing that people can afford. This is an extremely cost effective way of generating funds from the donated clothing.
Profit that SATCoL receives from the sale of the clothing, whether in UK charity shops or via export, is gift-aided to The Salvation Army for its work in the UK and Republic of Ireland.
99% of items donated are reused or recycled with up to 80% being reworn. The rest will be shredded or broken down to make mattress filling, industrial wipes, or soundproofing in cars. Less than 1% cannot be used again and is sent to landfill. We continue to work towards zero landfill.
The location of Salvation Army banks can be found by putting your postcode into the bank and shop finder at the top of the page or by telephoning the helpdesk on 0845 4581999
A minimum of 75% of SATCoL’s profit is gift-aided to The Salvation Army each year (see Q10 below for further details), with the rest reinvested in the company to help ensure a robust future. In the last three years SATCoL gift-aided £19.8 million to The Salvation Army.
We also have some jointly branded banks in supermarket car parks, where profit from the donations are shared with other charities. Between April 2011 and July 2011 we helped to raise £337,000 for other charities and community funds, as well as funds for The Salvation Army.
With more than 800 community churches and social centres across the UK and Republic of Ireland, The Salvation Army serves more than 3 million meals each year, and every night some 3,500 homeless men, women and families find support, shelter and a hand up to a new and better life in Salvation Army lifehouse centres. Every working day The Salvation Army Family Tracing Service reunites at least 10 people with long lost family members, while more than 20 emergency vehicles are used to support the emergency services and general public at around 200 major incidents each year, including fires and floods. The Salvation Army also provides a loving home for more than 600 older people at 17 care homes.
5. Can I donate clothes as a result of bereavement?
Yes you can, and you can rest assured that the clothes that you donate will reused or recycled and not be thrown away if at all possible.
All types of clothing – outer clothing, underwear, accessories, shoes, trainers and household linens. The majority of items are worn again thereby saving raw materials, energy, water, and diverting them from landfill.
Our charity shop staff in particular are well trained to recognise the value of individual items and these values would be reflected in the selling price of each item. In cases of high value items it is sometimes necessary to seek expert advice for both valuation and disposal.
The Salvation Army is active across the UK with all kinds of projects including professional addiction services, Lifehouses that help people break the cycle of homelessness and get back on their feet, looking after older people in residential centres, employment training, support for the long term unemployed and people with special needs. This is just some of the work The Salvation Army carries out in neighbourhoods throughout the country.
Recycling clothing saves raw materials, energy, and water and diverts waste from landfill. Cast off clothing can be worn by someone else in need. Recycling clothes therefore protects the environment and helps The Salvation Army to help those in need. Many people in other countries are unable to afford new clothing and rely on our recycling scheme to provide affordable clothing.
In April 2012 SATCoL acquired Kettering Texiles Ltd, creating a wholly owned division of SATCoL which operates the Clothing Collection Scheme.
Yes, SATCoL's network of charity shops are very grateful for donations of clothing, bric-a-brac and household items that they can sell in-store. They cannot accept electrical goods however, as they cannot be safety tested.
Many Salvation Army churches run independent charity shops which directly fund local programmes but which are not linked to SATCoL.
Profit that SATCoL receives from its charity shops is gift-aided to The Salvation Army to help funds its work throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The National Clothing Collection service is a door-to-door collection scheme carried out by Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd on behalf of The Salvation Army. Over 400,000 branded bags are delivered to households throughout the UK each week via Royal Mail, and collected a few days later by local collectors in clearly branded vans.
The collectors will all have identification and there is a public helpline number 0845 458 1812 for people to phone should they have any enquiries.
If you have been sent one of our door-to-door collection bags please leave it outside on the day stated on the bag and it will be collected by one of our collectors. Unfortunately we are not usually able to make individual collections outside of these dates, however it is worth calling our helpline on 0845 458 1812 as they can see if any of our collection team are still in your area, in which case there's a chance they could come back for your donations. If this isn't possible we recommend that you take your donations to your nearest clothing bank or alternatively, please feel free to drop them into your local Salvation Army Trading Company charity shop. To find your nearest bank and shop simply enter your postcode in the bank/shop finder at the top of this page. For large donations eg house clearances or donations following a bereavement, please contact our helpline on 0845 458 1812 as - in some instances - we may be able to make alternative arrangements.
15. How do you justify the environmental effects of transporting clothing overseas?
Space in landfill sites is running out. Landfill is also costly and throwing wearable clothing away is wasteful, but not many people realise that it can also be harmful. This is because over time your old clothing made of natural materials like cotton, wool and leather will biodegrade in the airless conditions of the landfill site to form methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This means that the advantages far outweigh the carbon footprint of exporting.
Also, we often use Eastern European lorries that have delivered goods to the UK and are making the return journey to their country of origin anyway. The CO2 savings of reducing the manufacture of new clothing is well documented and far outweighs any transport considerations.
16. What percentage of clothing is collected by SATCoL is sent overseas?
After our charity shops have been stocked and humanitarian needs identified by The Salvation Army have been met, approximately 97% of SATCoL's clothing collections (both from banks and door-to-door bags) are sent overseas as this is the route whereby the largest amount of money can be raised for The Salvation Army. It also provides affordable, desirable clothing for people in places such as Eastern Europe who may not otherwise be able to afford it. Our charity shops are always well stocked and we’re pleased to be in a position whereby we can use both routes to raise money for The Salvation Army.