UK households to discard 67m clothing items post-lockdown - study

Jun 24, 2020
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UK charity stores are bracing for a glut of secondhand clothing with consumers set to donate an estimated 67 million items as Britain comes out of lockdown, a new study claimed on Wednesday.

British wardrobes are full of clothes that consumers are preparing to dispose of post-lockdown

The report from Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) said 41% of people had a clothing clear-out during lockdown and most are storing items to donate.

Overall, as many as 184 million textile items are being cleared out, data reported to the group shows, and 57% is still at home to be disposed of as lockdown ends. 

The most common textile items the public sorted out during lockdown are clothes (37%) with T-shirts, blouses, jumpers, hoodies and sweaters topping the list of items waiting for disposal. People have also spent time sorting through their unwanted shoes (19%), bedding (12%), bags and handbags (10%), accessories (10%) and household textiles (10%).

As well as the 67 million clothing items, WRAP estimated that as many as 22 million pairs of shoes could soon be channelled through charity shops, collection banks and other donation routes.

WRAP found that on average, individuals have discarded 11 items of clothing, with more than half of these items (59%) still at home awaiting disposal. Almost half of participants (49%) say they’ll donate these clothes through a charity shop, or charity bag collection service (17%).

The survey also found that the proportion of people concerned by the environmental impacts of clothing, and actively committed to stopping clothing waste, has risen from 31% of the population in 2017, to 50% by 2020.

But it also said as many as 14% of people will now dispose of their unwanted clothes in the general rubbish, and of those who’ve already cleared out their wardrobes, 36% used the general rubbish.

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