81  Textiles

Bogus charities which appeal for unwanted clothing are depriving genuine good causes of around 1m a year, it has been claimed.  Companies involved in the scam often put leaflets through people's doors asking for clothes and household items which they claim are destined for charity shops in eastern Europe and developing countries.  It is thought that the companies make a profit by selling the clothes on to shops abroad.  The Association of Charity Shops estimates that the potential value of donated clothing and other items "lost" to legitimate charities in this way is more than 1m a year.  The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) believes householders could be particularly vulnerable to the scam at times when they clear out their cupboards to make way for new clothes.

THE WASTEBOOK does not carry advertisements, but would recommend the 2004 documentary film on selected cinema release The CorporationSubtitled 'The pathological pursuit of profit and power', the film, directed by Joel Bakan, asks searching questions, and paints a psychological profile of the Corporation as a psychopath which destroys society.  Includes Michael Moore, Vandana Shiva, and the CEO of the US based company Interface (see entry below), Ray Anderson, who speaks movingly about ethics and achieving good practice against the odds.  Can a corporation demonstrate Corporate Social Responsibility when success means operating at the edge of legality, and, unable to express remorse, it is set up to offload on to others as many as possible of the costs of making profit for shareholders?

The term 'textiles' includes not only clean rags and usable clothing, curtains, blankets, towels and household linen, but also footwear, belts, hats, handbags and shoes.  Donation outlets in the form of jumble sales, charity shops and public recycling banks are widespread.  Some sale outlets are also available, mainly limited to dress agencies (see Yellow Pages) and a few specialists dealing in top quality curtains in nearly new condition.  However, please don't put duvets, pillows, carpets, rugs, eiderdowns, books or bric-a-brac in textile banks.

Despite this, 700,000 tonnes of textiles and 100 million pairs of shoes (nearly 2 million shoes a week) - most of which could be reused or recycled -are thrown away in the UK each year, most ending in landfill.  This is the equivalent in resources of 1.5 billion gallons of oil, according to the Salvation Army, one of the largest textile recycling organisations, which uses donated materials not only for disaster relief and its own charity shops, but for the manufacture of wiping cloths, upholstery fillings, insulation materials and "pulled" fibre for new clothes, blankets and carpets.  Clothes exported to developing countries are welcomed in places like Bangladesh where they provide an essential economic source of clothing, as goods of such quality are often far too expensive or unavailable.  Reuse and recycling of textiles also saves energy and raw materials compared to manufacturing them new, saving oil and material imports. 

Textiles can also be reused for sound insulation panels and upholstery padding.  In many trades, natural textile fibres are preferred to oil-based products because of their safety properties, better insulation and durability.

330 million pairs of shoes are purchased in the UK ever year.  With more stores offering cheaper brands of clothing - often made in developing countries, virtually by slave labour and sometimes by children - it is becoming less likely that adults will buy used footwear, or buy their children a pair of second-hand shoes.  Many shoes and trainers are thrown out because they are no longer fashionable or the right size - they may have little wear when outgrown.  Unfortunately charity shops often have more shoes than they can sell, and the general public have become more inclined to throw them into the bin.  Yet most shoes are made with an oil-based material or rubber, most are not biodegradable: rubbish dumps (landfills) are rapidly running out of space. When incinerated shoes can release harmful dioxins, so it is bad either to bury or incinerate them.  

However, most shoes can be reused in developing countries.  Please note that many cannot be reused and go to waste because people do not pair them together (tied with laces or elastic band) before putting in a textile or shoe bank.

Materials in textile banks are sorted into items that can be reused and those that are worn or damaged, but can still be processed to have a use as an industrial wiper cloth or reclaimed fibre.  The range of natural materials available make them far superior to paper equivalents.  Wiping cloths for trades such as engineering and printing can be made from old t-shirts, sweatshirts, cotton trousers etc by removing buttons and zips.  From textile banks, 70% is used as second-hand clothing and shoes to meet demand in both UK and developing countries; 9% is reclaimed, shredded and used as a filling material (eg compressed for stuffing mattresses, or for insulation, which is preferred to expensive oil-based alternatives); 8% goes to the reclamation of fibres to produce recycled products (the threads of a garment can be pulled and mixed with new fibre to re-weave into new clothes or blankets); 7% becomes wiping cloths for industry, replacing paper and equivalents; 6% is rejected as waste (bags, zips etc).

Dealers and organisers operating collection networks are listed.  Recycling bank locations may be checked through local councils; local charity shops are listed in Yellow Pages, and several organisations collect door-to-door.  Items deposited in clothing banks should be clean, dry and placed in plastic bags for ease of handling and protection.  Banks are usually emptied at least weekly, so there is little risk of deterioration, although it might be advisable for any particularly valuable items to be donated directly to a charity shop.

Carpets, if in good condition, may be donated to charity shops.  If not reusable, old carpets can be placed on top of your compost heap to keep the heat in.  Man-made fibres will not rot - but carpets made from cotton or wool will decompose and compost eventually.  Pieces of carpet can also be laid on garden plots to kill weeds by depriving them of sunlight.

Also see
Recycled and natural clothes and textiles (330)

Alphabetical list of organisations

Barn Shoppe, The

Tel 01245 323508
Rear of Oak Lodge Farm, Leighams Road, Bicknacre, CHELMSFORD, Essex CM3 4HF

Sale and purchase of near new quality curtains, ladies' and children's designer clothes.

Barry, Lawrence M & Co  
see Lawrence M Barry & Co

BCR (Black Country Rag and Wiper Co)

Tel 0121 520 7586  Fax 0121 522 3340
Website www.textilerecycling.co.uk   
4a/4b Greets Green Industrial Estate, Greets Green Road, WEST BROMWICH, West Mids B70 9EW
Contact  Maxine Sault (also Chair, Recyclatex, see Textile Recycling Association below)

Family business operating reclamation scheme covering most English districts, operating with 70 councils and servicing over 800 textile banks weekly.  Integrated textile reclamation and recycling plant. Usable clothing and footwear separated for export to those who cannot afford new clothes.  Most of remainder converted to industrial wipes, flocking or shoddy. Waste kept to absolute minimum.  Free recycling roadshow for councils to generate pubic interest.  Runs special school collection days, supplying leaflets and bags to the schools.  Children bring discarded clothing and shoes, which are weighed on site. Revenue is paid to the council or the school.  This fuels children's interest in textile recycling, so the message may reach parents, encouraging them to use textile banks. Will provide and service a school textile bank free.  Employs 79.  Exports lightweight clothing and shoes to Africa and heavier clothing and shoes to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Poland, Holland and Latvia, creating many jobs in these countries.  (Updated Jan 2005)

Beyond Skin
Tel 0 1494 871655  Fax 0 1494 872986
Website www.beyondskin.co.uk  Email info@beyondskin.co.uk 
89 Holloway Road, LONDON N7 8LT

Ethical footwear label producing hand-made shoes, all made in England in a way that is non-exploitative to animals, humans and wherever possible the greater environment.  Created to combine style and fashion with a cruelty-free lifestyle.  Trans-seasonal, made-to-order from materials ranging from satins and soft synthetic suedes to organic cottons.  Endeavours to support a sustainable lifestyle.  Committed to sourcing wherever possible the most natural, eco-friendly fabrics.  All footwear is both vegetarian and vegan, and packaging and promotional material made from recycled paper using soya based inks or from a sustainable source.  A percentage from every pair of shoes sold goes to a selection of ethical charities, which can be nominated by you.
   (Updated May 2005)

Britannia Wiper Company

Tel 0207 476 6888  Fax 0207 476 9888
Email  sales@britannia-wiper.co.uk  Website www.britannia-wiper.co.uk 
Old Sorting Office, Tidal Basin Road, Canning Town, LONDON E16 1AD
Contact  Ross Barry

Producer and supplier of wide range of wiper products, including wipers, cloths, mats and blankets from waste textiles.  Cuts 20 tonnes of wipers a week.  Also producer of janitorial, industrial cleaning products, body protection (suits, goggles, dust masks), sanitorial wear, brushes, chemicals.  Includes environmental range of  janitorial supplies.  Level 1 Green mark; ISO14001, ISO1001.  National distribution from own vehicle fleet - weekly or special deliveries.  Delivery within 3 days.  Part of LMB group; also see Shoe Friends below.  (Updated Jan 2005)

British Red Cross
Tel 0207 235 5454 
Fax 0207 245 6315
information@redcross.org.uk  Website www.redcross.org.uk 
9 Grosvenor Crescent,  London SW1X 7EJ  

Over 400 British Red Cross shops, run by salaried staff and volunteers, sell mainly good quality, affordable second hand clothing and household itmes, donated directly or collected house to house.  Shops supplement their stocks by appealing to manufacturers for end of lines, rejects and samples.  Local shopkeepers are encouraged to donate surplus stocks.  Some specialised shops offer goods targeted at the local market, such as retro clothes in student areas, evening wear, or a wider range of baby and children’s wear in areas with many young families.  Some shops run fashion shows featuring donated clothing.  With some old clothes unsuitable for resale, the fibres can be shredded and rewoven.  Also collects old mobile phones for recycling by Virgin - see section 87, Computers, phones and electronic goods; and used inkjet cartridges for reuse or recycling from HP & Lexmark printers - see section 35.  (Updated Aug 2005)

CBC Trading Ltd
Tel 0208 573 4189  Fax 0208 569 0840
Email cbctrading@aol.com  
136 Clayton Road, HAYES, Middx UB3 1BL

Supplier of original unsorted charity rags for sorting and direct export.

Change of a Dress

Tel 01462 893197
52 High Street, BALDOCK, Herts SG7 6BJ

New and nearly new ladies wear.

Cohen A

Tel 0207 225 0022  Fax 0207 584 9520
Apt 14A, 10 Palace Gate, Kensington, LONDON W8 5NF

Merchant of textile wastes recycling, secondhand clothing and shoes.

Colins & Aikman Ltd

Tel 01908 313222  Fax 01908 313292
24 Erica Road, Stacey Bushes, MILTON KEYNES, Bucks MK12 6HS

International group of carpet manufacturers who have developed 'closed loop' recycling of discarded carpets in USA.  Eventually it is intended to introduce a similar scheme into Britain.

Coppermill Ltd

Tel 0207 729 2999  Fax 0207 739 9400
Email name@copperwipe.demon.co.uk  
78-90 Cheshire Street, Bethnal Green, LONDON E2 6EH

Manufacturer of industrial wiping cloths.

Curtain Call

Tel 01462 711355
2 Church Road, Shillington, HITCHIN, Herts SG5 3LH

Small specialist shop. Sale and purchase of good quality near new curtains.  Limited opening hours: Tue and Sat 10-5 or other times by appointment.

Curtain Connection

Tel 01727 868368
108 London Road, ST ALBANS, Herts AL1 1NX

Sale and purchase of near new quality secondhand curtains.  Open Tue-Fri 10-2.30;  Thurs eve 6.30-8.00;  Sat 9.30-5.

Curtain Exchange

Tel 020 7731 8316
Website www.thecurtainexchange.net  Email  info@thecurtainexchange.net 
129-131 Stephendale Road, Fulham, LONDON SW6 2PF
Managers  Suely Kennedy, Anne Ellerton

Sale and purchase of near new quality secondhand curtains (most lined), as well as new and ready-made curtains, second-hand headboards with fire certificates, and other soft furnishings.  Only top quality curtains accepted.  A small fee for collections.  To recycle your curtains, phone nearest branch - list on website.  There is no head office, but the Fulham branch (fulham@thecurtainexchange.co.uk) is one of the largest and the first to open in London.  Many of the staff have been with the company since it was launched and can provide a wealth of experience when advising clients.  (Updated Jan 2005)

Eco-log (VauDe UK)

Tel 01434 320744
Haltwhistle Industrial Estate, HALTWHISTLE, Northumberland NE49 9HA

A network of retailers who accept waterproof garments and outdoor leisure equipment that use water-based coatings (eg Sympatex, which is 100% polyester) for recycling.  Many other waterproofs cannot be recycled, such as 'non-breathing' fabrics like PVC and polyurethane which are glued with solvents and emit dangerous fumes when burnt.  Information on Eco-log local retailers / stockists from VauDe UK (a key member of the retailer network).

ECT Recycling

Tel 0208 832 2494 Fax 0208 832 1983
Email info@ectrecycling.co.uk  Website www.ectrecycling.co.uk   
Greenford Depot, Greenford Road, GREENFORD, Middlesex UB6 9AP

Substantial independent, not for profit charitable community organisation, headed by Ealing Community Transport, set up in 1979, dedicated to serving the community through recycling and transport.  Now largest UK not for profit recycling organisation employing 200 and operating and maintaining 100 vehicles.  Runs local authority contracted kerbside recycling box collections in Barnet, Brent, Ealing, Hackney, Hounslow, Lambeth, Richmond, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest; also Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire.  Collects cans, foil, glass, oils, paper, surplus paint and textiles, using purpose-built vehicles. Paint is redistributed to anyone able to use it, via a 'Community Re>paint' scheme established in 1994.  Pioneer of Furniture Recycling Network, collecting unwanted domestic furniture for those who need it; redistributes office furniture throughout London.  Tests and extracts CFCs from scrap refrigeration equipment.  Piloting kitchen waste collection OWL (Organics in West London) to be made into compost then sold for use in parks and gardens, feeding the soil.  Recycling Hotline 020 8937 5037 for residents with queries about their doorstep recycling service.  Parent company of Lambeth Community Recycling.  Also runs transport services aimed mainly at older and disabled people; and ECT Buses provides some bus routes for London.  (Updated Nov 2003)


Tel 01253 407070 Fax 01253 408080
Baden Court, 2 St Annes Road, BLACKPOOL, Lancs FY4 2AN

National reclamation scheme for donated textiles, operated on behalf of a group of five high-profile British charities.  Provides collection banks and regular servicing.

European African Trading Co Ltd

Tel 0121 707 7195  Fax 0121 707 7197  Email eatcol@btinternet.com
Sophia House, Wharf Road, Tyseley, BIRMINGHAM B11 2DX

Purchases charity mixed rags and sorted textile grades. Cash on delivery.

European Recycling Co Ltd

Tel 0208 288 0303  Freephone 0500 827198  Fax 0208 288 0302
Website  www.europeanrecycling.co.uk  Email  enquiries@europeanrecycling.co.uk 
Whitehead House, 120 Beddington Lane, CROYDON CR9 4ND
Contact  Clive Woodhead, Joanne Baker

Shoe recycling scheme established 1994, operating across Europe and collecting from shops and local authorities.  Provides area-wide shoe bins, with attractive collection stands, free to shoe shops, schools, and any retail outlet, for both worn out and reasonable shoes.  These are collected weekly and shipped to Hamburg, Germany, where they are sorted and graded.  Over 85% of shoes are reusable, and these are sent to Eastern Europe and Third World countries and sold at affordable prices to local traders and craftsmen for local reconditioning if necessary.   A pilot scheme in Germany is recycling the remainder by chopping, compressing and adding resin to reprocess into hardboard and insulation material.  Some 50 tonnes per month are collected from about 1200 points.  Further outlets are sought. Helps Variety Club, working with sick and disadvantaged children.  Address is an administrative office only.  Also in Manchester.  (Updated Jan 2005)

Green Choices
Website www.greenchoices.org/clothes.html  Email info@greenchoices.org 
PO Box 31617, London SW2 4FF

Free, independent, not-for-profit web guide to greener living.  Like THE WASTEBOOK, it has no products to sell or promote, only ideas and information to help people make greener choices in their day-to-day lives.  The section of the website given above has general advice on environmental impacts of clothing production, exploitation of workers and animals, reuse and reclaim, and advice on how to make better choices.   (Updated May 2005)

Hemcore Limited

Tel 01279 504466  Fax 01279 755395
Website www.hemcore.co.uk  Email info@hemcore.com 
Latchmore Bank, Little Hallingbury, BISHOPS STORTFORD, Herts CM22 7PJ

Company with the first UK licence to grow and process hemp.  No agrochemicals are used in growing the crop, which grows quickly, giving the highest fibre yield of any crop, and has excellent biodegradable properties. Fibres are strong, but can be softened for comfort, and take dyes easily, and the fibres' hollow core allows fabric to breathe.  Every part of the plant is used - the core for horse bedding (its high absorbency is particularly suitable) and construction material - and the fibre for textiles (furnishing and clothing) and papers - it can be used for high grade writing paper.  It is also used in the auto and insulation industries.  3000 hectares of industrial hemp (virtually zero drug content) is now grown by British farmers under contract to Hemcore.   (Updated June 2004)

High Visibility Clothes Cleaning
Tel 01462 458966  Fax 01462 436640
Contact  James Waddington, Managing Director, 43-44 Bancroft, Hitchin, Herts, SG5 1LA

Many companies conclude that high visibility protective clothing is very difficult to clean effectively, so replace it at high cost rather than trying to clean it.  This company has developed a unique process using natural organic materials (no bleaches), to clean and dry these garments at low temperatures, removing all odours.  No residual solution remains to cause skin irritation.  Garments can be rewaterproofed providing they were waterproofed when purchased, and also reflameproofed.  Minor repair work, such as re-taping, is also offered.  Garments such as jackets, trousers, boiler suits, gloves, lifejackets, harnesses and seat covers can also be cleaned for re-use. Production is at: Units 1 &2, Fulwood Close, Fulwood Industrial Estate, Huthwaite, Nottingham, NG17 2HX

Interface Carpet Tiles
Tel  01274 690690   Fax 01274 694095
Email  andy.wales@eu.interfaceinc.com   Website www.interfaceflooring.com 
Shelf Mills, Shelf, HALIFAX  HX3 7PA
Contact  Andy Wales

Leading carpet tile manufacturer delivering social, economic and environmental benefits by developing a market for 'secondhand' carpet tiles.  Working partnership since 2000 with ReEntry, a not-for-profit organisation which diverts used carpet (over 150,000 sq m per year) from landfill through reuse, and Pennine Magpie, which provides work for adults with learning difficulties.  Interface designers consider products' entire lifecycle, fro manufacture to reclamation and recycling.  The long-term goal is for all the company's products to be sustainable.  Meantime, products are continually improved through smarter design and processes: each product's performance is measured against a high standard, and results available through a sustainability report card.

Many organisations replace a whole carpet when only a small amount is worn out.   ReEntry goes into organisations, and replaces and recycles tiles that are worn out or may be only lightly worn.  (On higher education campuses, this can encourage an ethos of student responsibility within personal areas.)   After sorting, the majority of tiles can usually be given a second life.  The carpet is cleaned and then sold at a reduced amount to organisations that would not be able to afford such a high grade product - or it may be given to charity.

Instead of sending lorries to collect carpet tiles from across the UK, empty returning vehicles are used to collect the old product on pallets.  Globally, Interface has reduced waste by $185m, including fossil fuel reduction of 18%.  Also uses energy from 100% renewable source.  As well as less waste, fixing materials allow easy changing of individual carpet tiles. When a carpet tile needs replacing, this will be taken back and recycled.  Interface works to The Natural Step principles and all European sites are ISO 14001 registered.  Interface's manufacturing in the UK uses only 100% renewable electricity.  In 2002 they won a queens award for enterprise (sustainable development) for their leading effort.  US ceo Ray Anderson spoke in the 2004 documentary film The Corporation.  (Updated Dec 2004)

Jenda Collection Services
Tel / Fax 01933 651065
Fitzwilliam House, Station Road, Irthlingborough, WELLINGBOROUGH, Northants NN9 5QF

Exporter of second-hand clothing and shoes to third world countries.  (Updated Feb 2005)

Katharine Hamnett

Tel 0207 354 2111  Fax 0207 226 1929
Email info@katharinehamnett.com
Website www.katharinehamnett.com
Unit 3d, Aberdeen Studios, 22-24 Highbury Grove, LONDON N5 2EA

Internationally known British fashion designer, also known for inventing new technical processes and campaigning for political and social issues, including organic clothing and fair trade.  Committed as a matter of personal conscience to only selling clothes manufactured ethically and as environmentally as possible, preserving traditional skills.  Website includes news on how pesticides and politics of 'Conventional Cotton is killing Africa'; 'Consumer Power' with information on chemicals in different clothing, materials and products, and referring to details from Pesticides Action Network  (PAN UK - see section 440 Organic and Low Input Food and Drink); sections on 'Environment Issues' and 'Protect and Survive'.  Among Katherine's other projects, The Soil Association (listed below) in its Living Earth publication reported her as ' working on a sustainable solar-powered desalination project with the Schumacher Institute that will provide fresh water with electricity as a by-product.  This will, we hope, be able to be used to help reverse climate change.'   (Updated May 2005)

Kentex Textile Recycling

Tel 01635 550509
Unit 2, Hambridge Farm, NEWBURY, Berks RG14

Waste textile merchant.

Kettering Textiles Ltd

Tel 01933 442833  Fax 01933 443006  Email 101627.305@compuserve.com   
66-78 Denington Road, Denington Road Industrial Estate, WELLINGBOROUGH, Northants NN8 2QH

UK's largest operator of clothing banks - over 1600 weekly collections.  Buys 14000 tonnes per year of secondhand clothing, waste textiles and shoes nationwide. 80% is exported.  Over 90% of clothing collected is used: unwearable woollens are recycled into 'new' garments; unusable coats, skirts and suits turned into mattress fillings or sound absorbency panels in cars.  Cotton materials used as wiper cloths for industry. Secondhand clothing and wiping cloth merchant.

Klein, E & Co

Tel 0207 987 1171  Fax 0207 538 0477
122-126 Westferry Road, Poplar, LONDON E14 8SG

Wholesaler and exporter of textile and plastic secondary raw materials and wastes.  Purchases all types of post-consumer waste plastics for export trade.  Also trading as Rimic Ltd.

Lawrence M Barry & Co (LMB London)
Tel 0207 476 2888   Fax 0207 473 1381
Website www.lmb.co.uk  Email andy.brooker@lmb.co.uk 
Britannia Mill, North Crescent, Cody Business Centre, Cody Road, Canning Town, LONDON E16 4TG
Contact  Andy Brooker 

Waste textile merchant, processor and exporter.  Recycler of textiles including clothes, towels, curtains, shoes, belts and bags.   Large, modern integrated reclamation unit.  Operates weekly kerbside collections from local authority banks and charity shops throughout UK.  Owns Britannia Plant Engineering (BPE), designing and manufacturing recycling bring banks for textiles and shoes.  These are serviced by LMB's fleet of vehicles and cranes.  Family business established 1985, working with major charities and 30 local authorities.  Claims to divert 200 tonnes of textiles, clothing and shoes from landfill each week, 40% suitable for re-use.  Items exported worldwide and re-used by people in poor countries.  21% used in filling industry; 19% cut by Britannia Wipers (see above); 1% for fibre reclamation.  Specialist in secure collection, disposal and recycling clothing.  TRA and Recyclatex member; Queens Award for export 1997.  Also see Shoe Friends.  (Updated Jan 2005)

Lontex Exports Ltd

Tel 0208 884 4060
Skillion Commercial Centre, Lea Valley Trading Estate, Harbert Road, Edmonton, LONDON N18 3BP

Collects and purchases secondhand clothes and shoes for export.

Oxfam Wastesaver
Tel 01484 539175 / 01484 542021
Email oxfam@oxfam.org.uk, companies@oxfam.org.uk  
Website www.oxfam.org.uk, www.oxfam.org.uk/coolplanet  
Unit 4-6 Ringway Industrial Estate, Beck Road, HUDDERSFIELD, West Yorks HG1 5DG
Contact  Andrew Stockwell, Wastesaver General Manager  01484 542021 / 017687 73486.  

National reclamation scheme for donated clothing and textiles.  600 collection banks, in supermarket and local council sites, and regular servicing via a network of local warehouses.  Banks provide saleable stock for Oxfam shops; any items which do not sell are collected by Wastesaver, opened 1975 with sorting and recycling facilities.  Items are sorted for other shops eg Oxfam Originals (specialist retro, designer and high street fashion), for other charities with special needs, sent overseas for emergency aid, or sold to recycling companies.  70% of garments not sold in shops are sold overseas, packed for export sale to over 18 countries, mostly in Africa where there is huge demand for quality, affordable, second-hand clothing.  Several shop departments specialise in new and second-hand wedding dresses and accessories: Eastbourne, Chippenham, Leicester, Coventry and Aberdeen.  Wastesaver is governed by Oxfam’s ethical trading policy, selling only to recognised companies in countries where second-hand clothing is freely available, with no negative impact on local manufacturing.  25 per cent of items collected are recycled for fibre content, for mattress filling or as industrial wiper cloths.  5 per cent ends up as unusable ‘waste’.  For more information, including on how to site an Oxfam clothing bank, contact Andrew Stockwell, see address above.  

Oxfam head office main entry, see
Charity section 130.

Oxfam's other activities involving donation and low price resale:  
600 public donation 'banks' for textiles and 1000 for books, collected via local warehouses. 
Bookshops, and book departments, including rare and collectables, also via online marketplace www.abebooks.co.uk
(see Books and publications, section 33). 
Music shops and departments (see section 33, or Miscellaneous unwanted goods 89). 
Furniture (domestic/office) shops and departments (Furniture and household goods, section 82). 
Bridal clothing and accessories departments in some Oxfam shops.  (See Textiles, section 81). 
OXBOXX scheme for people moving home and removal companies, run by Oxfam with the British Association of Removers (BAR).  
Mobile Phone Recycling Oxfam shops take donated phones.  If less than 10, you can also send to Oxfam 'Bring Bring' Scheme, Freepost LON16281, London WC1N 3BR; if more than 10, call 0870 752 0999 for free collection (see Computers, phones and electronic goods, section 87, or Electronic and electrical scrap, section 44).
Cartridge Recycling:  Toner cartridges: for a minimum of six, in original boxes, call LaserXchange Tel 01873 859901 for free collection.  Inkjet cartridges: LaserXchange will send a Freepost collection box or bag for posting, or Freepost labels for smaller amounts.  (See Oxfam and LaserXchange entries, Office technical wastes including toner cartridges, section 35)

Computer equipment:  contact Michael Taylor, mitaylor@oxfam.org.uk , Tel 01865 313484 (see Computers, phones and electronic goods, section 87).  
Stamp and Coin Unit
handles sales of donated collectables (see Books section 33, or Miscellaneous unwanted goods, section 89).  
Companies contact companies@oxfam.org.uk for information on projects, fundraising, partnerships  
Collection - offered by some shops, eg furniture - phone your local shop to ask.
Valuables - if you have something valuable to donate, please let Oxfam know. 
(Updated Feb 2004)

PR Matters

Tel 01494 764932  Fax 01494 764408
Brambling House, 7 Finch Lane, LITTLE CHALFONT, Bucks HP7 9NE

Public relations consultancy promoting recycling of PVC wellington boots for Dunlop.  Promotions include providing 'welly banks' for local authority recycling sites; support for special events and competitions such as welly 'wanging' contests; and recycling presentations to schools.  Dunlop can also provide bulk collection arrangements for large users of industrial and safety boots.  

Ragtex UK Ltd 
Tel 0116 234 0648  Fax 0116 234 0649
Website www.ragtexuk.com  Email mail@ragtexuk.com  
Units 2/5, Forest Park Industrial Estate, 47 Parker Drive, LEICESTER LE4 0JP

Collects about 100 tonnes a week of clothes from various schemes including charity shop collections, textile banks and households, working with local authorities.  Weekly and bi-weekly collections.  Clothes, shoes, household linen and toys exported for re-use, mainly to Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.  Operates from modern textile processing plant employing over 50 people.   Produces range of commercial cotton cleaning rags, in polythene stackable packs, sizes from 10 kilos.  Rags for wiping hands and machines from under 4.00 pack; for polishing or printer from under 5.00 pack.  Nearly new and vintage clothing wholesale store at same address, and also supplied to retail outlets.  Over 30 years experience.  (Updated Jan 2007)

see Textile Recycling Association

Red Cross 
see British Red Cross

Rimic Ltd
Tel 0207 987 1171  Fax 0207 538 0477
122-126 West Ferry Road , LONDON E14 8SG

Recycling and export of waste textiles and synthetic yarns.  

Salvatex International Ltd  
Tel 01536 400002  Fax 01536 400169  
1 St Marks Road, St James Ind Est, CORBY, Northants NN18 8AN  

Exporter of secondhand clothes and wiping cloth manufacturer.  

Salvation Army Trading Co Ltd

Tel 01933 441 086  Fax 01933 445 449
Recycling Unit, 66-78 Denington Road, Denington Industrial Estate, WELLINGBOROUGH, Northants NN8 2QH

A textile recycling scheme operational throughout the UK since 1991.  A choice is provided by offering to local authorities: clothing banks - we have 1700 on site and work with nearly 50% of all local councils; kerbside collections - we visit approx. 1,000,000 households every month; jumble sale and charity shop clearances.  Fully computerisd control mechanisms enable us to provide regular monthly weight reports to all councils.  The scheme provides regular monthly weight reports to all councils.  The scheme provides funds for the Salvation Army's "good works" and jobs for nearly 200, many of whom would probably be "on the dole", as well as a free waste collection service.

Saul D Harrison
Tel 0208 533 5054  Fax 0208 533 5056
Email sdh4wipers@aol.com  
Stronghold Works, 35 Waterden Road, LONDON E15 2EE  

Textile recycling, secondhand clothing, wiping rags and non-woven cloths.

Shields S G (Benfleet) Ltd

Tel 01268 751850 / 793193
286 London Road, BENFLEET, Essex SS7 5XR

Dealer in surplus clothing, textiles and footwear.  Charity shop and jumble sale clearance service.  Exporters of clothing to Third World countries.  Industrial wipers made from recycled clothing.

Shoe Friends
Tel 0207 476 6888  Mob 07710 569057  Fax 0207 473 1381
Website www.lmb.co.uk  Email michelle.barry@lmb.co.uk 
Britannia Mill, North Crescent, LONDON E16 4TG
Contact  Michelle Barry, group marketing manager and recycling co-ordinator (awarded a 'Recycling Hero' award 2004 by London Mayor)

Shoe recycling project, working with 25 local authorities in Greater London, and primary schools.  These receive an introductory assembly, one-day recycling workshop (including rubbish eating monsters and customised reuse T-shirt design), posters, leaflets to take home, and money for weight collected.  Collects good quality, unwanted shoes, trainers, football boots and other footwear children have grown out of.  Schools given free collection bin - shoes must be paired (tied with laces or elastic band), or they cannot be reused.  This should also be done before putting in a textile or shoe bank.  All wearable shoes are reused by people in poor countries.  Owned and operated by textile processor LMB (see above).  Makes 12 different types of footwear including shoes, slippers, trainers and workboots.   Shoe Friends project was a National Recycling Awards 2004 finalist.  Also see Britannia Wiper Company.  (Updated Jan 2005)

Skinner H & Sons

Tel 01255 502076
27-31 Stour Road, HARWICH, Essex CO12 3HF

Waste textile and ferrous/non-ferrous scrap metal merchant.

Soil Association
Tel 0117 929 0661  Fax 0117 925 2504  
Website www.soilassociation.org
Bristol House, 40-56 Victoria St, Bristol, BRISTOL BS1 6BY

UK's leading campaigning membership charity and certification body, established over 50 years, for organic growers, campaigning to increase organic food and farming.  Develops and provides practical and sustainable solutions combining food production, environmental protection and human health.  In common with many EC approved bodies, monitors standards of members through annual inspection of holdings to ensure non-use of artificial fertilisers, herbicides or pesticides, or genetic modification.  Those complying are entitled to use the 'Soil Association Organic Standard' environmental label.  Publishes an annual directory of farm shops and box distribution schemes, and magazine 'Living Earth'.  Also acts as accreditation body for Forestry Stewardship Council (see for example 440 Organic and Low Input Food and Drink), and awards its own Soil Association Woodmark - a sustainable management certificate.  Planning The Millenium Farm Network - 100 organic farms across the UK, open to all.  The address is shared with The British Organic Farmers Association, Tel 0117 929 9666, joint publisher of the magazine 'New Farmer & Grower'(Updated Nov 2003)


Tel 0208 524 2423
46 Gordon Road, Chingford, LONDON E4 6BU

Voluntary organisation providing a 'partnering' service to enable people who need only one shoe, or have different sized feet, to find appropriate footwear.  On occasion, directly supplies odd-sized footwear or single shoes.  Information on manufacturers and suppliers: SAE essential.


Tel 01933 460855  Fax 01933 460892
Email terimpex@btconnect.com  
18 High Street, Ringstead, KETTERING, Northants NN14 4DA
Contact  Terry Ralph, Managing Director (also President, Textile Recycling Association, see below)

Textile recycling centre, buying used clothes from charities and other collectors.  Collection of substantial amounts - 20 foot containers.  Import and export traders in 100% post-consumer waste textiles and used clothing.  Everything is reused or converted for new products, and useful clothing exported.  Recyclatex member.  (Updated Jan 2005)

Textile Recycling Association / Recyclatex
Tel 0845 6008276   Fax 0845 6008276
Websites  www.textile-recycling.org.uk   www.recyclatex.org.uk 
Email info@textile-recycling.org.uk 
PO Box 965, MAIDSTONE, Kent ME17 3WD
Contact  Alan Wheeler, Natianal Liaison Manager

RECYCLATEX is a trading group of TRA members forming an independent, regulatory body offering local authorities, charities and large organisations a reliable way to dispose of used clothing, shoes and household textiles, through  textile bank collection and reclamation contracts nationwide.  All members agree to conform to good working practices, comply with legislation, and place a substantial sum with The Recycling Association as a bond.  Chairperson Maxine Sault also runs BCR (Black Country Rag - see above).

The TRA aims to represent interests of members (textile manufacturers and wiper cloth manufacturers) locally and internationally; to create a favourable climate in which merchants can operate to advantage; to promote textile recycling.  Acknowledges that recycling is of major importance to the environment and to conservation of the world's raw material base.  President Terry Ralph also owns Terimpex, see above.  Members throughout UK.  Can provide information and assistance to members, eg legislation and planning permission.  Longstanding member of BIR (Bureau of International Recycling), embracing recycling in over 50 nations.  (Updated Jan 2005)

TRAID (Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development) 
Tel 0208 733 2580  Fax 0208 903 9922
Email info@traid.org.uk  Website www.traid.org.uk  
Head Office, 5 Second Way, WEMBLEY, Middx HA9 0YJ

Charity committed to combating effects of world poverty, by recycling at home and encouraging waste reduction.  Operates 700 recycling banks across UK, collects nearly 2000 tonnes a year, and recycles 94%.  Clothes donated are hand sorted.  They are redesigned and reconstructed to make good quality new or secondhand recycled garments, sold via own-brand charity fashion shops - one in Brighton and 7 in London: Hammersmith, Kilburn, Brixton, Shepherds Bush, Westbourne Grove, Wembley, Holloway.  Website displays your nearest recycling bank, or you can find space for a new one.  Funds raised through collection and sale contribute to UK environment protection, and funds sustainable participatory development in some of the poorest regions of the world.  Works with local councils, runs workshops at schools and other groups, to reduce waste and waste disposal costs.  Discusses door to door collections, and attends events to educate public about textile recycling.  Links between recycling and fashion retail: reputation for being innovative and edgy, appealing to the young, fashionable and environmentally conscious.  Established 1999.  (Updated Sep 2004)

Waste Not Recycling (London) Ltd

Tel 0208 880 0325  Fax 0208 880 0282
24 Rossendale Street, Hackney, LONDON E5 8TA

Collection of aluminium cans and textiles.  Provides payback service to community groups, charities, schools etc. Minimum 6 binliners of cans, 4 sacks textiles.  Payback on 10 or more sacks of textiles.  Associated with The Rubbish Dump interactive education centre (see separate entry).

Wintent Ltd

Tel 01234 742318  Fax 01234 742319
Units12-13, Kenneth Way, Wilstead Industrial Park, BEDFORD MK45 3PD

Secondhand clothing and textile reclamation, importer and exporter.  (Updated Sep 2004)

Zimmerman, S & Son
Tel 01924 420929
18 Amber Street, BATLEY, West Yorks WF17 8HN

Textile agent including waste textiles.  Used to have London office in Poplar.  (Updated Sep 2004)