Donating and recycling clothes during the Covid-19 crisis

In line with government guidance, non-essential shops can now start to reopen in England and Northern Ireland. As a result, you may find that your local charity shop or retail take-back scheme is now open and accepting clothing donations.

Although some COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed, it’s important to remember that shops will have guidance on how to donate your unwanted clothing – these guidelines should be followed. The measures have been put in place to protect the health of staff, volunteers, and the public.

As charity shops slowly reopen, you may notice that collections from local textile bring banks will gradually re-start. Additionally, it might be possible to donate and dispose of unwanted clothes via some HWRC’s or some local council kerbside textile recycling collections. We encourage you to always check your local council website to find out whether these options are currently available to you.

Whichever way you choose to re-use or recycle your unwanted clothing, the most important thing to remember is to check whether that option is accepting donations.

The situation is still challenging, however all of us can do our part to help such as:

  • Always re-use or recycle unwanted clothing through charity shops, textile banks, retail take-back schemes, charity collection bags or council kerbside collections
  • Whichever method you choose, check before you donate, to see that they’re open or in service - call ahead or look online and never leave clothes in front of closed charity shops or bring banks if they are full.
  • Check if clothing can be repaired, refashioned, or upcycled.
  • If it’s not possible to use one of the re-use or recycling methods, hang on to your donations for a while longer and try another time. You could also choose to sell unwanted clothing.
  • But, above all, never throw unwanted clothing in the rubbish bin – it’s bad for the environment.

You’ve already helped charities and the environment immensely by holding on to unwanted clothing while previous lockdown restrictions were in place.  

Please continue to help by donating and disposing of clothing in the most responsible way you can.