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Textiles are one of the most polluting industries in the world and have a huge carbon impact with each garment produced.

Cotton is estimated as the largest user of water of all agricultural commodities, representing more than half of the irrigated agricultural land globally. An average cotton t-shirt can require 2,700 litres of water and an average pair of jeans can use over 10,000 litres of water.

Impact of Textiles

Carbon emissions generated by the clothing of an “average” British household is the equivalent to driving 6,000 miles or 1.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year.

Buy Less and Buy Better

When you feel the urge to go shopping, before heading out, think about what items you really need. Is there a special occasion coming up that’d you’d like a new dress for? Perhaps you have a big interview that you want to look smart for. Or, maybe the summer time weather has got you in the mood for a new swim costume.

Once you’ve identified what you need, try shopping for durable, high-quality items. You can also consider going for fabrics that are friendly to the planet such as organic cotton. Well-made clothes may be more expensive, but they will last longer through rough treatment and hard wash cycles, then cheaper items.

You can also find high quality items in charity and vintage shops or resell websites like: Vinted and eBay. Or consider forgoing buying all together and simply rent an item instead.

Sell It

The average household owns approximately £4000 worth of clothes! If a third of that is just hanging around losing value why not use it to make a few extra pounds. There's no shortage of ways to go about it:

  • If your garments are in good condition, offer them up on gumtree or facebook marketplace and let someone else have joy with their ‘new to you’ textiles.

  • Car boot it! The car boot sale is still going strong in the UK if you want to find your nearest take a look at a site like

  • Ebay, Gumtree, for sale groups on Facebook are all great ways to sell straight from your sofa; take a photo and a few clicks later it’s online.

  • Or why not try apps like Vinted designed to do exactly that. You can sell or swap clothes at the press of a button.

Get Sewing - fix, alter and upcycle

Making small changes or repairs to clothes doesn’t require a lot of talent or experience. You could try it yourself, persuade someone close to do it for you or join one of our sewing repair workshops. If the cost of replacing something is more than the repair or alteration or the item holds fond memories, then the cost of a repair could be priceless!

If you want to give it a go, but not sure how to get started, you can find loads of inspiration online at sites like the Love Your Clothes website, Pinterest and Etsy.

Swish or Giveaway

Giving your clothes away couldn’t be easier, and there’s more than one way to do it.

  • Friends and Family - The original way to pass on your clothes – who hasn’t had a jumper or two passed down from an older sibling or cousin? If you have friends or family of a similar size give them a heads up when you’re getting rid of clothes

  • Charity - With over 10,000 charity shops in the UK there is always somewhere your clothes can go to and help make a difference.

  • Get Swishing - hold your own session or attend one. Find out more at our Get Swishing page (LINK TO Swishing campaign page on new site)

How to recycle your textiles

Bag your textiles in a plastic bag ready for collection on your chosen day. Your council provides a kerbside collection service and you can put your bag of textiles alongside your waste bins on your collection day.

Leaving textiles outside can cause contamination from weather conditions and items may go missing. To ensure the textiles are in the best condition as possible we ask that you keep them safe inside until a van, branded with TRAID’s charity livery arrives and one of their trusted drivers comes to the door.

What can be recycled?

All sorts of textiles can be recycled including clothing, shoes, bed linen and curtains.

Many of us crave a fashion fix every now and again, but that doesn’t have to mean loading up on the latest trends and breaking the bank. We want to get you in more durable goods that will last well beyond the season’s latest trends. But, clothes, footwear and household textiles are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution around the world.

In the UK we purchase 400% more clothing today than we did just 20 years ago, which equates to 2.15 million tonnes of clothing and shoes being bought every year.

Our keen appetite for this fast fashion, throw-away culture has led to 350,000 tonnes of used textiles ending up in landfill in the UK every year.

This huge amount of textile waste is estimated to be worth around £140 million annually. All this waste means that not only are we losing money but we are also losing valuable resources and damaging the environment too.

  • A whopping 2,700 litres of water is needed to produce just one t-shirt, which is enough drinking water for one person for 2.5 years

  • 0.5 million tonnes of microfibers are released in the ocean every year from washing synthetic fabrics. That is 35% of primary microplastics released into the environment

West London Waste Authority has partnered with TRAID to collect all your unwanted clothes and shoes directly from your home.
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Still wanting to visit your local Recycling Centre?

Brent recycling centre

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Ealing recycling centre

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Harrow recycling centre

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Hillingdon recycling centre

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Hounslow recycling centre

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Richmond recycling centre

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Further reading

Get Swishing
But hang on, what is Swishing and why should I do it?
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5 Step Swishing guide
Where to start? There are a few key questions to answer before beginning to plan your Swishing event.
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Swishing Resources
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School Uniforms

Grass stains, rips and art-projects gone awry – we all know kids can be tough on their clothes! While we can’t prevent general wear-and-tear, we can give our clothes the care they need by washing, drying and storing them properly. Following the care labels in garments is the best way to keep them in good condition and lasting longer. While this may sound obvious, it might actually be easier said than done. Around one-third of us in the UK are no longer wearing items of clothing from our wardrobe because we’re not following the washing, drying or ironing labels – this works out to around 39 million items that haven’t been worn in the past year.

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From household kerbside collections to your local recycling centres, we deal with a number of different types of waste materials.

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