Clothes and textiles

The fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of global carbon emissions. This means that clothes are contributing to climate change more than air and sea travel combined.

In the UK, we buy more clothes than any other country in Europe. The trend of ‘fast fashion’ has resulted in more than half of items bought being thrown away in less than a year. Around £140 million worth of clothes goes in our general waste bins in the UK every year - that’s around 350,000 tonnes.

Disposing of these clothes and textiles costs the UK around £82 million each year. Globally, less than one per cent of the material used to produce clothing is recycled back into new clothing. Around 12 per cent is recycled into other products, such as insulation or mattress stuffing.

We want to encourage residents to love their clothes and give them as much life as possible before ensuring that they are recycled and not sent to landfill. 

If you do need to buy something, try and get it second-hand rather than new. There are many charity shops in Dacorum, as well as some great pre-loved and vintage shops. You can also try Facebook groups and apps such as Depop and Vinted.

Sustainable clothes swaps

Clothes swaps are a great way to refresh your wardrobe with no cost to you or the environment. We normally host sustainable clothes swap events twice a year.

Taking part is simple - bring along up to 10 items of good-quality adult clothing you no longer need during the drop-off times, and then return during any of the swap times to pick up the same number of 'new' items.

Email recycle@dacorum.gov.uk to be added to our clothes swap mailing list for all the details and to be notified of all our future clothes swap events. 

Past events

More than 50 people came to our summer 2024 clothes swaps in Berkhamsted, bringing along 350 items. In total, this saved 2,095kg of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) from being produced, had the clothing ended up in landfill. This is the equivalent of flying from London to Dallas, Texas! The remaining clothes were donated to Oxfam and The Hospice of St Francis where they will be sold on to support these causes.

Clothes swap rules

  • We can accept a maximum of 10 items per person in adult sizes only
  • Items accepted: good-quality clothes in adult sizes
  • Items not accepted: bad-quality items (for example: dirty, ripped, torn, stained, or with broken zips) shoes, bags, jewellery, underwear, nightwear, swimwear or babies and children’s clothes
  • This event is for good quality, unwanted clothing only. If you have any unwearable clothing, this can either be repaired or recycled at a textile bank
  • Bring your own reusable bags to take items home - carrier bags will not be provided
  • All credit from these swaps will expire at the end of the event and cannot be used at future swaps
  • Any items remaining at the end of the event will either be donated to charity or saved for another swap.

Dopplle 

This student-led start-up - based in Hemel Hempstead - also runs clothes swaps throughout the year. Visit the Dopplle website to find out more

Love Your Clothes

We proudly support the Love Your Clothes campaign, which helps people take care of their clothes and increase their lifespan. Its website offers top tips on: 

  • Washing and drying clothes correctly
  • Stain removal 
  • Making repairs and alterations 
  • Upcycling items 

Selling and donating

If you no longer want your items and there's still plenty of life left in them, aim to sell or donate them to someone else who can enjoy them.

Clothes can also be sold on online marketplaces such as eBay, Preloved or Facebook Marketplace, sold physically at car boot or jumble sales, swapped for discounts through companies such as reGAIN, or donated to local charity shops.

Next time you need a new garment, try buying second-hand by exploring your local charity shop or looking online - there are plenty of great items waiting to be discovered.

Several charities accept specific items, such as:

Recycling Unwearables

If it can’t be reworn, let it be reborn. Unwearables are clothes that are not destined to be worn again - for example, holey socks, ripped tights or torn T-shirts. Alternatively, they could be items that you wouldn’t pass on to someone else, such as underwear. The good news is these can have a life as something new.

If your items cannot be repaired, reused or worn again, take them along to your nearest neighbourhood textile recycling bank so that they can be reborn. Your ‘unwearables’ can become anything from a carpet or mattress, to sofa stuffing or wiper rags.

These neighbourhood textile recycling banks are only for flat textiles, such as clothes, curtains, duvet covers and pillow cases. Stuffed textiles, such as cushions, duvets and pillows need to be taken to the Recycling Centre to be recycled.

Remember: never put clothes in your kerbside bins - they cannot be recycled in your blue-lidded bin and if they go in your grey bin they will end up in landfill or incinerated.

Page Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 June 2024 at 02:49 PM