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.

If we continue manufacturing, importing and shopping the way we do, fast fashion could account for a quarter of global carbon emissions by 2050. Textiles production is also the world’s second largest industrial polluter, after oil.

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.

Around 30 per cent of the items in our wardrobes haven’t been worn in over a year. If clothes are worn for longer, this helps to extend their carbon, water and waste footprints.

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

Image to promote our Sustainable Clothes Swap eventsClothes swaps are a great way to refresh your wardrobe with no cost to you or the environment. We normally host sustainable clothes swap events every spring and autumn.

Taking part is simple - bring along your unwanted, good-quality items of clothing (10 items maximum) during the designated drop-off time, and then return during any of the swap times to pick up some 'new items. However many good quality items you brought in is the amount that you are allowed to take away with you.   

We are planning to hold our next events on Friday 21 October (lunchtime and evening events) and Saturday 22 October 2022. Check back closer to the time to find out more details. Alternatively, email us at recycle@dacorum.gov.uk and we will add you to our clothes swap mailing list so that you are notified of all our future clothes swap events.

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:

Second Hand September

To help tackle the issues of fast fashion and wasteful consumer culture, last year (2021) we were supporting Oxfam’s Second Hand September campaign. We encouraged residents to get involved simply by not buying anything new all month. Alternatively, opting for second hand instead.

To celebrate this campaign and raise awareness of fast fashion and excessive consumption, we teamed up with three local second-hand businesses, who each supplied a voucher as a competition prize: 

Thank you to everyone who sent in their second-hand gems, we loved seeing the pictures and reading the stories of each item. Congratulations to our winners, Vicki, Gio and Tina and Mick. 

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.