* FOR our textiles price indicators, click on the Textiles Prices Archive link to the left - or you can also see below for 2013 price indicators *
Despite currency and demand fluctuations in overseas markets, demand for used clothing from the UK has remained generally good over the past few years.
Most UK clothing material is collected via the bank system and from charity shops, although an increasing amount is also collected door-to-door.
While selling second hand clothes in the UK is still an option, especially through charity shops, increasingly clothes are exported for sale in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In addition, material which is not used for clothing can often be turned into wiping cloths and specifications have also been drawn up for these by the wiper and cloth manufacturers division of the Textile Recycling Association.
In recent years the UK textiles industry has come under increasing pressure. In particular, competition from sorting businesses in Eastern Europe has forced some companies to move their sorting operations out of the UK to similar regions. At the same time, political and currency issues also impact on the market.
In the UK, the second hand trade has suffered from the dual problem created by the expansion of cheap clothing shops and 'fast fashion' — discouraging people from buying second hand clothes while meaning clothes can be less durable when they do eventually enter the second hand market.
Following the economic downturn in late 2008, textile recyclers also expressed concerns that the amount of clothing entering the second hand market could decline as householders keep hold of clothing for longer.
The majority of textiles thrown out by households ends up in landfill, with Defra estimating that 1.5 million tonnes a year of unwanted clothing is eventually landfilled. Meanwhile, the Textile Recycling Association has estimated that in excess of 400,000 tonnes of textiles was collected and recycled in 2008.
As part of the Waste Strategy for England 2007, Defra identified clothing as one of 10 priority areas that would be examined within its Sustainable Consumption and Production work. The first stakeholder event for the Sustainable Clothing Roadmap was held in September 2007, and as well as launching an evidence project examining just how to maximise textile recycling and reuse, the question of introducing producer responsibility for textiles has also been raised.
In February 2009 the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, which saw key stakeholders in the textile industry outline just how they planned to increase their sustainability, was launched.
The high price of textiles has prompted concerns over widespread theft of material from both textile banks and door-to-door collection bags, with some claiming organised criminals are involved. In January 2011, the Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, held a round-table meeting involving representatives from the textile recycling industry, charities, regulatory bodies and police to address the issue of bogus textile collections.
Textile prices 2013
Three textile guide price categories are shown here:
- Textile banks - this reflects the amount that may be paid to a local authority or a waste management company, usually by a collector for material from textile banks. The payment may be amended if the local authority has to pay a bank hire fee or an element of the collection costs and if a donation is made to a charity.
- Shop collections - this price indicates the amount which may be paid by a collector to a charity shop for clothes the shop has not sold to the public directly. Prices vary on content from poorer quality material through to clothes and leather items.
- Charity rags - this is a general term for material, usually well-presented and often from charity shop collections, delivered to the factory of a larger textile collecting business which often exports used clothing and textiles.
Prices are £ per tonne of material
|Textile banks||260 - 340||260 - 340||260 - 340||260 - 340||260 - 340||260 - 340|
|Shop collections||530 - 580||500 - 550||500 - 550||500 - 550||500 - 550||500 - 540|
|Charity rags||650 - 730||650 - 710||650 - 710||660 - 720||660 - 720||670 - 730|
|Textile banks||250 - 330||240 - 330||240 - 330||240 - 340||260 - 360|
|Shop collections||490 - 550||490 - 550||480 - 550||470 - 550||470 - 560|
|Charity rags||680 - 750||680 - 740||670 - 740||670 - 740||670 - 730|