This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
B A R B I C A N L I F E


On the trail of our old clothes....


Sarah Hudson follows the clothes recycling trail from the Barbican via The Salvation Army recycling centre in Kettering and beyond.


M


ake-do-and-mend has left its mark our collective memories through the experiences of our


parents and grandparents during the Second World War and post war austerity. As the youngest child of four I remember horrible sides-to-middle sheets and a succession of hand-me- downs. But re-using clothing is something


people have been doing for centuries - and continue to do so in different ways. We still admire the beautiful nineteenth century quilts sewn out of clothing scraps but today clothes are more likely to be recycled or re-used through the retail shops of major UK charities. Thankfully the ghastly experiences of the young David Copperfield selling his clothes to Mr Dolloby on the road to Dover are a thing of the past. We can safely take our old clothes to a charity shop or even to the Marks & Spencer’s Shwop scheme.


“A third of all clothes


bought in the UK end up in landfill”


WRAP, the recycling organisation, estimate that around 30% of clothing in the average wardrobe in the UK has not been worn for over a year, most commonly because it no longer fits! This unused clothing is worth £30 billion. Extending the life of clothes by just


three months of active use per item would lead to a 5 -10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints. So I don’t feel so bad about


continuing to wear my disreputable gardening trousers! WRAP recently estimated that a


third of all clothes bought in the UK end up in landfill, but if they were donated for reuse or recycling they could generate £140 million in revenue. But it is encouraging that they found that 540,000 tonnes (48%) of used clothing is re-used, more than two-thirds of which is sent overseas.


So what happens to the clothes we recycle? Here in the City clothes recycling has been brought to our doorstep with conveniently located clothing banks provided by The Salvation Army. The BA Sustainability Group


decided to track down what happens to the clothes, shoes and textiles we deposit in those banks and we recently had the privilege of spending a day at The Salvation Army’s textiles recycling centre in Kettering to find out. There are two recycling banks on


the estate - one on the Willoughby ramp and the other tucked down next to the old YHA building outside the


Bunyan House car park. These banks are well used and are emptied once a week. The bags of clothes, shoes and textiles are collected by an agent and consolidated into a lorry load for transportation to Kettering. The Salvation Army textile processing centre is an impressive operation. Over 650 tonnes of clothing, shoes and other textiles arrives each week. Teams of workers unload the bags; a quick feel will detect non-textile items. It’s amazing what turns up in the


banks - pots and pans, electrical items, toys, games, toiletries, even a replica brass ship in full sail - and huge numbers of old video cassettes. All these items are fished out and recycled or sent to The Salvation Army’s charity shops.


The textile bank in Bunyan House car park


A brass ship which turned up in one of the recycling banks


17


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68