Features

Undressing the issue

TRAID-visitSimon Stodel and Councillor Jo Blackman at TRAID’s sorting factory

Redbridge Council has partnered with a charity working to reduce the environmental impact of clothes, and residents can now book a free collection of unwanted garments. Council Officer Simon Stodel reports

An estimated 350,000 tonnes of clothing are binned in the UK each year, and every time you throw away an item of clothing, it’s costing the earth, as well as your wallet. You can do your bit to reduce this waste (and save money) by buying less and selling, repairing and donating your unwanted textiles.

To produce new clothing, the fashion industry uses unsustainable amounts of water, fossil fuels and energy. Many manufacturing processes are also associated with toxic chemicals, waste and pollution – all of which have a harmful impact on our environment.

In Redbridge, all general waste is sent to mechanical biological treatment facilities where it is shredded and passed through various conveyors to extract recyclable materials such as metal and glass. It is not possible to recover textiles during this sorting process and although the waste in our borough is turned into refuse-derived fuel, there are many more sustainable ways to manage your unwanted or damaged clothing.

In the fight against wasteful fashion, Redbridge Council’s Neighbourhood Team has launched a new section on the council’s website to support local people in reducing clothing waste in the borough. Packed with information, advice and tips, the dedicated page highlights ways to reduce, reuse and recycle clothes, as well as how to dress for less the eco-friendly way.

The team has also partnered up with UK clothing charity TRAID to offer residents a free, bookable, doorstep collection service for unwanted clothes. Donated items go to TRAID’s charity shops, dedicated to selling pre-loved clothes and raising vital funds for global projects to improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry.

You can donate clean, wearable clothes, shoes, accessories, sheets and household linen (excluding duvets and pillows). You can book a collection for a minimum of one large bag or three small bags of clothing, but TRAID encourages residents to donate more than the minimum amount, as this helps the charity to deliver a more efficient service. This service is open to all Redbridge households, including flats.

Councillor Jo Blackman (Wanstead Village), who is also Redbridge Cabinet Member for Environment and Civic Pride, said: “With fashion trends changing fast, and cheap clothing readily available online and on the high street, it might be tempting to change wardrobes often, but it comes at a great cost to our environment. One of the easiest ways we can all play a part to help tackle climate change is to reduce, reuse and recycle, and clothing is a good place to start.”


To book a free clothing collection, visit wnstd.com/traid or call 020 8733 2595. For information on reducing clothing waste, visit wnstd.com/clothes