Oxfam says that approximately 7,200 tonnes of clothing is saved from being sent to landfills every year as a result of its Wastesaver processing plant. The aid agency is one of the few organisations that runs its own textile sorting facility. Clothing donations that end up being unsold at the charity’s retail outlets are sent on for processing at the facility in West Yorkshire in a bid to minimise what is sent to landfill and maximise income.
Oxfam encourages individuals to donate goods to Oxfam Shop’s so that unwanted possessions are managed in the most sustainable manner. Items that are later sent on to Oxfam’s Wastesaver plant never end up in a landfill. Some of the items are sent to other shops in the network or appear as products on Oxfam’s website, whilst others end up as inventory at Oxfam’s pop-up shops at festivals. The vast majority of items are either resold overseas or to re-processors who use the clothing to create upholstery stuffing or new cleaning cloths.
Making use of everything
A small fraction of items which are not fit for reusing or recycling are sent for incineration at green energy plant that produces electricity that powers the locality in West Yorkshire. The clothing that Oxfam sends to the plant produces enough energy to power as many as 400 homes a year. An Oxfam spokesperson says when clearing out or refreshing wardrobes, it is important that people don’t just throw their old items away and instead donate them to the local Oxfam shop. Oxfam works hard to make the most of every item that is donated so that the good work Oxfam does around the world remains funded.
The money is used to do good
In 2017 a study was undertaken which suggests that the average woman in the UK wears just five complete outfits on a loop. The study also polled 1,000 men and more than half said they didn’t wear at least a third of the clothes that they own. The money raised by Oxfam from the sale of pre-owned goods pays for Oxfam’s work saving lives everywhere from Yemen to the DRC and Syria. Last year the whole network of 630 Oxfam shops plus the online shop was able to raise £22 million which was used to fund Oxfam’s work fighting poverty and suffering all over the world.