Recycling makes sense

Recycling your clothes provides affordable clothing for others, create jobs, supports The Salvation Army and reduce our impact on the environment.

Did you know that clothing made of natural material biodegrades in landfill to form methane?

Why recycle

Space in landfill sites is running out. Landfill is 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 produce methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

Recycling clothes is just as important as recycling any other material.

•    An estimated 1.14 million tonnes of clothes are purchased in the UK each year*
•    31% of used clothing (350,000 tonnes) goes to landfill in the UK every year*
•    Of the rest, 12% is re-used in the UK, 34% is re-used overseas, 14% is recycled and 7% is incinerated*
•    In the UK, people spend £44 billion a year on buying clothes – or around £1,700 per household*
•    It takes 800 litres of water to make just one t-shirt, so recycling and reusing clothes is environmentally friendly
•    Production of a tonne of clothes takes 10 times more energy than that of steel or glass**
•    24% of the world’s pesticides are used in cotton production
•    Over 5% of the UK’s total annual carbon and water usage results from clothing consumption*
•    The annual footprints of a household’s clothing are equivalent to that of over 100 pairs of jeans, the water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs, and the carbon emissions from driving an average modern car for 6,000 miles*
•    Extending the average life of clothes by just three months of use per item would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints*
•    For every tonne of textiles reused rather than put into landfill, harmful carbon dioxide emissions are reduced by 3.6 tonnes***

Still not convinced about recycling your clothes? Profit that we receive from your donations contributes to The Salvation Army to support its social welfare projects throughout the UK. Between April 2009 and March 2014 alone we donated £39.5 million to The Salvation Army, which shows how much value there can be in your old clothes!

For a downloadable fact sheet containing these facts and figures, click here.

*WRAP’s Valuing Our Clothes report, July 2012:
** Defra’s report reference WRT152 September 2006 and Defra's Maximising Reuse and Recycling of UK Clothing and Textiles’ study 2009
*** Study from the University of Copenhagen (2008) cited by Bureau of International Recycling

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