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Fears that major clearouts during quarantine will "overwhelm" charity sector

With the government enforced lockdown inspiring a bout of spring cleaning among the UK public, the latest public survey by WRAP suggests two in five UK citizens (41%) have "had a clear out" of unwanted textiles and clothing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The WRAP survey devised to help the charitable sector, figures that the majority of people will store their items at home until lockdown lifts.

Local authorities and recyclers are being told to prepare for the expected influx of textiles likely to be donated to charity shops and through other donation routes, as these soon begin to reopen.

Worries that the charity sector will be "overwhelmed", WRAP estimates that as many as 22 million pairs of shoes and 67 million clothing items could soon be disposed of.

Image credit: Save the Student

To help make the expected influx to charities easier, WRAP has produced advice for people wishing to donate their unwanted items, which is being promoted through its Love Your Clothes campaign.

Whether you are using a charity shop, textile bank, retail take-back scheme or sidewalk collections, WRAP advises individuals to check if these services are operating before you go ahead with them. Call ahead or check online - even with your local authority - but do not leaves clothes in front of a closed charity shop or a full textiles bank.

WRAP's advice comes with worries that as many as 14 percent of people will dispose of their unwanted clothes in the general rubbish; and of those who have already cleared out their wardrobes, more than one in three (36%) used the general rubbish.

Thus far, the survey suggests that the equivalent of 184 million textile items have been cleared out but the majority (57%) are still at home to be disposed of when lockdown ends.

The most common items the public sorted out during lockdown are clothes (mostly outwear textiles), but unwanted shoes, bedding, bags and handbags, accessories and other household textiles are also up for the pass.


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