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Public favours reusing clothing over recycling

Research commissioned by Green Alliance shows the public wants to increase the reuse of clothes. 

According to a YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of Green Alliance, over 2,000 adults in Britain expressed a desire for government and businesses to take action. 

Among the top priorities identified by 30 percent of respondents are calls for the industry to collaborate with charity shops, adopt less environmentally harmful production methods, and end the destruction of unsold or returned goods.

85 percent of those surveyed said destroyed such goods is “wrong”. And over three quarters support targets to increase reuse and reduce clothing waste, over recycling.

Meanwhile waste charity WRAP research shows people are putting almost half (49 percent) of all used textiles in the rubbish bin. 

On average, each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted textiles straight into general waste every year.

Old and unwanted clothing presents opportunities for reuse, repurposing, and even upcycling by others. It's crucial to consider these alternatives before resorting to general waste disposal.


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Above: It’s estimated almost half of all used textiles end up destined for landfill. 


Establishing a project dedicated to swapping and reusing uniforms, as part of the reuse Warp It redistribution system, can yield numerous benefits for your organisation. 
Not only will it save money, but it will also lower disposal costs, reduce carbon emissions, and divert waste from landfills.

There are a number of Warp It members who have done this. The Guy and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, for example, donated 1,700 hospital uniforms, worth £25,000, to an international charity for use in hospitals in Sri Lanka.

The Trust had been storing the vast uniform collection, which included Midwife and Sister tunics, for over six months and nearly lost hope of rehoming them until they used the Warp it distribution service.

Another NHS Trust reported savings of £7,000 after holding a declutter day. Over 200 uniforms were donated, many brand new and still in their packaging.

As a result, they held a uniform rummage event, drawing significant interest from staff who brought and swapped various types of uniforms, ranging from reception and office attire to surgical scrubs.

Reusing uniforms is just one way Warp It can support sustainability progress in your organisation.

This approach aligns with the transition to a Circular Economy and bolsters green credentials by reducing the volume of clothing destined for landfills.

Make circularity a priority for your organisation and start reusing today. Take the online tour and get in touch to join the Warp It reuse community.

See more on how charities benefit with Warp It.

Get our 10 reuse top tips.

Read our guide to reuse.

Start reusing today and register with Warp It.


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Jennifer Clair Robson

Jennifer Clair Robson

Writing to make a difference because climate change, sustainability and the environment are issues close to my heart.


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