Charity shops could be overwhelmed by lockdown wardrobe clearances

assorted-color clothes hanged inside department store with lights turned on

Volunteers needed to help households dispose of 67m clothing items and 22m shoes

After two-fifths of British citizens had a wardrobe clean-out during lockdown, 67m clothing items and 22m shoes will be thrown away.

Clothing is the most commonly donated item to charity shops. However, there are other options available, such as clothing recycling schemes or the garbage bin. Other accessories, including bedding and household textiles, can also be donated to charities. Wrap, a government-backed recycling organization, estimates that there are 184m textile items awaiting disposal.

People want to get rid a average of 11 pieces of clothing. More than half of these items are still at home and are awaiting disposal as charity shops and local authority bins have yet not reopened.

Wrap polled almost half of respondents (49%) who said they would give their unwanted clothes to charity shops or charity bags collection services. Shops are prepared to receive a lot of donations as they reopen last week. However, 14% of respondents plan to throw out unwanted clothes. Only a third of those who have disposed of them already put them in the rubbish.

assorted-color clothes hanged inside department store with lights turned on

Wrap director Peter Maddox stated that the charity sector is preparing for an “unprecedented amount” of donations. He urged people to not dump items outside of charity shops or locked donation boxes and to verify that stores are open before they return.

British Heart Foundation has five of its 750 charity shops currently open. One outlet received more that 100 bags of donations on its first day. This is more than twice the amount it would have received on a weekday.

Oxfam reported that its 10 stores that reopened this week had received lots and lots of clothing, books, and homeware. Fee Gilfeather is Oxfam’s head for strategic planning. She said that as more shops open this week, they are delighted that many people have been calling their local stores to schedule a time when they can bring their donations in. This allows us to maintain social distancing when people visit the shop, and to manage the storage of the items safely. We are isolating donations for 72hrs.

Robin Osterley is the chief executive officer of the Charity Retail Association. It represents over 400 charities and has approximately 9,000 shops. He said that reports from its members showed that shops that were reopened received nbsp. higher than normal donations, but were able to meet the demand.

He said however that charities are having trouble reopening their stores as half of the volunteers who work in charity shops have not been able return to their homes because they or someone within their household is particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. For new volunteers, the association has created a central website. He said that more volunteers would be appreciated.

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