Charities fear new scheme will hit donations

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CHARITIES have raised concerns that a new textiles recycling scheme may reduce donations.

Since July 23, Suffolk Waste Partnership has offered a textiles recycling service.

Textile recycling bags have been posted through doors to be filled with unwanted clothing, shoes and other textiles before being placed inside recycling bins.

Charities including St Nicholas Hospice Care and the RSPCA’s West Suffolk branch have expressed concerns that the scheme will lead to a reduction in the amount of clothing and textiles donated.

Barbara Gale, CEO of St Nicholas Hospice Care, said: “We really have been increasingly concerned about Suffolk Waste Partnership’s recycling scheme, the convenience factor of collecting from people’s homes could have a significant impact.”

Last year, the Bury St Edmunds hospice raised £500,000 by reselling and recycling unwanted clothing, which provided support for 653 patients.

Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for environment and property management, said: “What we want to do is encourage people not to put textiles in the black bin.

“There are 7,000 tons of material going to landfill – if we can stop that it will save £500,000 a year. We want people to continue to send things to charity, our motivation is to save on disposal costs.”

Mrs Gale said: “I know they are urging people to donate to charity and I understand they want to reduce landfill.

“I’m so disappointed that they could not speak to us and other charities about helping them. If you convert 7,000 tons of textiles that could raise a fortune.”

The resale and recycling of textiles makes up approximately 63 per cent of the funds raised by the hospice’s retail outlets and 11 per cent of the hospice’s total income.

Norie Furusawa, manager of the RSPCA’s West Suffolk branch, also believes that people will now be less inclined to travel to donate clothing and textiles which, she said, made up ‘a large proportion’ of the branch’s sales.

Deborah Wheatley, manager of Oxfam’s Bury branch, expects the shop’s loyal customer base to limit any impact the scheme will have on donations by continuing to support them by taking in their unwanted clothing, which, if unfit for sale, they will recycle or send abroad.