Londoners donate one million unworn garments to charity

Textile reuse charity TRAID has announced that Londoners have donated one million unworn garments since the start of the charity’s ‘23 per cent’ campaign one year ago.

The 23 per cent campaign – named as such after the charity’s research revealed that 23 per cent of Londoners’ clothes are unworn – calls on residents in the capital to pass on clothes they no longer wear or need.

An image of a rail of clothes

The charity’s research also revealed that nearly a quarter of Londoners admitted to throwing clothes in the bin rather than passing them on.

Since the start of the 23 per cent campaign, Londoners have passed on 258 tonnes of wearable clothes, putting one million garments back into use. This has achieved a carbon saving of 2,451 tonnes and a water saving of 412.8 million litres.

The charity collects the unwanted clothes via home collections, clothes recycling banks and charity shops, selling the donations in its 11 charity shops across London.

TRAID’s campaign also aims to progress the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12, which calls for responsible consumption and production. According to TRAID’s research, 72 per cent of Londoners had never even heard of the SDGs.

Andrea Speranza, Head of Campaigns at TRAID, commented: “One year into the campaign and Londoners have already passed on one million garments and counting. With global consumption of clothes projected to rise by 63 per cent to 102 million tonnes by 2030, it’s vital that we start reducing the amount we consume and produce to protect our planet and its citizens. We need to do more with less.”

Mary Creagh MP, Chair of Parliament's Environment Audit Committee (EAC), said: “The way we design, make and discard clothes has a huge impact on the environment. TRAID’s 23 per cent campaign calls on Londoners to put 123 million items of unworn clothes back into use. Initiatives like this one help everyone recycle their clothes – and to understand why it matters – as well as supporting the UN SDG 12.”

Speranza added: “Thank you to the thousands of Londoners who have cleared their wardrobes for TRAID. The water, carbon and waste savings made so far are incredible and are inspiring even more people to join the growing movement of those saying no to fast fashion and over-consumption by putting clothes back into use.”

Tackling fast fashion

Demand for cheap, disposable ‘fast fashion’ has rocketed in recent years, with domestic clothing consumption in England and Wales increasing from one million to 1.1 million tonnes between 2010 and 2015.

In June 2018, the EAC, which scrutinises the environmental impact of government policies, launched an inquiry into the sustainability of the fashion industry, gathering responses from environmental campaigners as well as figures from within the fashion industry.

As part of this inquiry, fashion designers and campaigners questioned at a select committee hearing called on the government to promote the repair and reuse of clothing and provide more information on the sustainability of their fashion choices.

Concluding the inquiry, the EAC called for the fashion industry to take more responsibility through a one pence producer responsibility fee to be paid by fashion brands and retailers to fund better textile waste collection.

The government, however, rejected proposals for the one pence tax in June, suggesting that voluntary rather than legislative measures should be taken.

You can find out more about TRAID’s 23 per cent campaign on the charity’s website.

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