11 September 2019 by Joshua Doherty

‘Greater transparency’ needed for textile bank donations

A charity textile recycler has called for greater transparency over where clothing ends up when it is deposited in textile banks.

The recommendation from TRAID comes on the back of a survey it commissioned with YouGov which found that 67% of people are “unaware that textile banks can be run by commercial companies”.

TRAID is a textile recycling charity

TRAID is a UK-based charity which operates a series of banks across the UK, where clothes are sorted and sold on to shops and with profits going to charity.

The charity conducted a report called Taking Stock, which highlighted that 88% of people using textile banks in the UK prefer to donate clothes to charity-run textile banks, yet most are unaware that some textile banks are run by commercial companies.

Other standout findings from the report show that 79% of people think local councils should award all textile bank contracts to charities and 84% of people believe that donating clothes is an important way to support charities.

66% of people would also stop donating entirely or donate less frequently if their local textile bank was run by a commercial company

 Commercial decisions

Commenting after the release of the report, Maria Chenoweth, chief executive at TRAID, commented: “We are not asking councils to stop making commercial decisions. We are asking them to ensure that charities are not the victim of commercial decisions.”

“We are not asking councils to stop making commercial decisions. We are asking them to ensure that charities are not the victim of commercial decisions.”

Maria Chenoweth, TRAID

She added: “By listening to residents, improving transparency about who profits from donations and ensuring commercial companies are not placed at the expense of charities, but in addition to them, local authorities can continue to support charities and their residents.”

The report made three core recommendations, which include:

  • Greater transparency about who benefits from clothes put into textile banks
  • A commitment from local authorities to ensure that at least 60% of all textile banks on council-owned land are charity-led
  • A commitment from local authorities seeking to raise funds for the right to collect textiles from commercial companies that existing charity textile banks will not be removed

TRAID’s report looked to highlight that the public is unaware where clothes from textile banks are going

Robin Osterley, chief executive at the Charity Retail Association said: “Each year, more than 11,000 charity shops raise £295m for a range of good causes across the United Kingdom, and the ability to source donations from textile banks is vital to this.

“The charity retail sector also makes a huge contribution to the environment. In 2018, 327,000 tonnes of textiles were diverted from landfill and into re-use and recycling. This also makes a positive difference to the UK’s carbon footprint, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 7m tonnes through green activities.”

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