So it’s the 4th day of climate week and we realised that we had unwittingly released information on Meat free Monday, Telephones on Tuesday and World Water day on Wednesday so we thought the only possible thing we could do was Textile Thursday ….
In the UK, approximately 1.5 – 2 million tonnes of textile waste is generated each year. Of this, 1.2 million tonnes enter the household waste stream and ends up in landfill. Textiles present particular problems at landfill: man-made fibres do not decompose and although woollen garments do eventually decompose they emit methane gases which contribute towards global warming and climate change. Even though we don’t landfill our domestic waste in Lewisham, the majority of the UK does and burning clothes is not an awful lot better than burying them.
So what can the residents of Lewisham do with unwanted textiles? We’ve created a list, starting with the best possible option:
1. Think about why the clothes are unwanted, it’s often best to buy better quality clothes that last longer – I’m no fashion expert but apparently classic items never go out of fashion!?
2. Take unwanted clothes to your local charity shop, it’s best to donate clothes locally and give them a new lease of life.
3. Use the old clothes yourself to create dusters, draft excluders or make a pillow from a t-shirt. You can attend our crafts and draughts event this Saturday to find out how to make your own draught excluders – go to our recycling map and click on the orange suns to find out where the event is.
4. Use the numerous textile banks around the borough, visit our recycling map (look for the purple pins) to find your nearest bank. These clothes are sorted into various grades, with some staying in the UK and others providing an affordable source of clothing to disadvantaged people in the developing world and emerging countries in Eastern Europe.
Please don’t put textiles in your normal refuse or recycling bins, they can’t be recycled at our Materials Recovery Facility and it’s a waste if they’re burnt.
In addition to all of these options we’re currently carrying out a textile collection trial in the Brockley and Telegraph Hill wards, if this is succesful we’ll be looking to expand it to more parts of the borough.