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Clothes shopping and recycling that is good for us all

Spring has sprung and many people are using this time of year to have a de-clutter of clothes drawers and clear out their cupboards, especially because recent periods of lockdown may have given them more time to spare.

And, with shops re-opening and crowds beginning to hit the high streets once more, many charity shops have been inundated with donations and some are even struggling to keep up, and find the space for them.

So, with so much on offer at the moment, Ealing residents could bag a bargain or two – with second-hand shopping a rewarding and sustainable way to get your fashion fix, buy gifts or find items to decorate your home. Read more about that later…

In the meantime, with charity shops so full at the moment, residents are being reminded of other ways to lighten the load of unwanted items in a similarly sustainable fashion.

Recycle your threads

Textiles can be recycled as part of your kerbside collections, on your normal recycling day – just make sure you put them in a clear, secure bag on top of your blue bin. Keep the bags dry and alongside each other and tie any pairs of shoes together. Recycling left in black rubbish bags will not be collected.

Alternatively, you can take unwanted cast-offs to a textile collections bin near to your home. You can find your nearest one online, or additionally you could take your textile recycling to the re-use and recycling centres at Greenford or Acton. But please remember, you still need to book a slot to visit.

Shoes, bags, belts, socks and underwear can also be recycled as part of your kerbside collection. Textile banks also take clothing, blankets and linens, old tea towels, and towels.

This old clothing is taken away and sorted into different grades, according to its condition. It is then either sent to be reused or recycled into different products. Items not suitable for re-use will be recycled into new materials that could be used in the automotive, furniture and housing industries.

But, you can of course still donate items to charity if you prefer. It helps charities to raise much needed funds while shoppers get to save a few pennies in bagging a bargain.

Savvy shopping this spring       

As we said earlier, second-hand shopping can be a great way to unearth some unique items, shop more affordably and keep clothes out of landfill.
And with charity shops bursting with bargains now that they have re-opened, and a surplus of stock due to spring lockdown clear outs, we can expect to see more savvy shoppers than ever trawling through the items on offer.

Helen Scanlon, assistant manager at FARA charity shop, in The Broadway, Greenford, said: “It’s great to be open again and the public have been very generous in their donations and we welcome everything we get. We have received more than we would normally, due to the pandemic lockdowns and people having a clear out at home. But we are steadily working through the items and getting them ready to sell. The things we don’t or can’t sell get recycled or sent overseas.”

A sustainable approach

We tasked Verity Adams, a member of the EalingNewsExtra team, with having a wardrobe declutter and refresh. You can read what she did below. What recycling tips can you share with us? Have you bagged yourself a charity shop bargain recently – tweet us at @EalingNewsExtra to let us know.

Verity said: “I took on this challenge last year, so I felt quite excited about giving it another go as I had great fun doing it once I got going. The thinking about doing it is far worse than the actual doing it!

“I started clearing out stuff at home during lockdown and was quite ruthless this time round. A lot of the stuff went for kerbside recycling and the best bits, including some lovely books and toys my children have outgrown, were put aside for charity.

“I was a bit unsure about whether the shops would accept items because of hearing that some were so inundated with stuff – so I did check beforehand that were taking things and they were glad to have them. My hallway is now a lot clearer and my wardrobe is tidier, and hopefully someone else will make use of our stuff. It also left me feeling good – job done.

A natural high

“Bargain hunting increases the release of dopamine, an organic feel-good chemical released by the brain, research has shown. And, as I have vowed to invest more in self-care since the COVID-19 outbreak, looking after my mind and body, shopping (within limits) can be a fun way to achieve this for this shopaholic. I’m out and about getting some exercise as well as keeping an eye out for a buried treasure.

“On my travels this time, I didn’t find anything for myself, but I did see some fantastic kids’ games – many of them were new too. I did bag some Lego that was in brilliant condition for just £2 and kept my kids amused for a good while – money well spent.

“My children often come with me on my charity shop trips because they enjoy the shopping and also learn the importance of reusing and recycling for the environment.”

For more handy advice and tips to recycle clothes, check the Love Your Clothes website.

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