Wherever possible, charity retailers seek to sell on or reuse donated items, keeping them from landfill and reducing the associated carbon emissions. Charity shops are able to reuse or recycle more than 90% of donated clothing, over 90% of donated books and 85% of donated electrical goods. Reuse helps to minimise greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste collection, transportation and treatment.
Charity retailers save councils £31 million each year in waste disposal charges by diverting 339,000 tonnes of textiles away from landfill or incineration. In addition, councils who signpost free charity shop collection rather than bulky waste collections supports charity and helps to reduce landfill.
A circular approach to welfare
Around 13.4 million people in UK are living in poverty and struggling to afford essentials and yet a staggering £140 million worth of clothing and 22 million pieces of furniture goes into landfill each year. An increase of 10% in second hand sales could save 3% carbon 4% water 1% waste per tonne of clothing. The Charity Shop Gift Card can help close the loop between items unwanted items and people in need, creating a method for communities to become more circular and provide a sustainable means of supporting each other, free from stigma.
The perception of charity shops is changing with retailers becoming more like ‘normal’ shops, specialised stores for furniture and children’s clothes, outlets etc, and out-of-town superstores. The reduction in stigma associated with charity shopping , in conjunction with using The Charity Shop Gift Card to disburse crisis funding, can help introduce people to the environmental, community and financial benefits of charity shopping.