Recycling clothes - facts and figures

Australians have the potential to donate billions of dollars of good quality clothing to charity op shops.

Research by the British Government shows that UK consumers have £30 billion worth of clothes that they haven’t worn for a year hanging in their wardrobes!

Given that Australians love clothes shopping as much as the Brits, why can't we all do the right thing and donate our unused clothing to charity op shops?

Our charity op shops already have some very committed helpers. In 2016, more than 70,000 op shop volunteers performed a variety of roles including collection, sorting, administration, management and fundraising.

How much unworn clothing do we have?

Research shows that Australian women's wardrobes are bursting with potential for Aussie charity op shops.

  • 62 per cent of women have clothes in their wardrobe that have never been worn or still have tags on.

  • 83 per cent of women have clothes in their wardrobe that they have only worn once or twice.

The research is good news for Australia's charity op shops. Demand has never been higher for the goods they sell, so these charity stores are in urgent need of good quality clothing donations.

Other research shows that:

  • 97 per cent of Australian women have donated an item to a charity op shop at some point in their lives.

  • Nearly nine out of 10 women (88 per cent) have purchased something from a charity op shop.

How much is recycled?

In 2012, over 300,000 tonnes of clothing and household goods were donated via charity op shops and collection bins. Two billion items were sorted, with a significant amount being reused, recycled or upcycled.

The donations were enough to fill 13,200 40-foot containers.

An estimated 40 per cent of the material that charity recyclers send to landfill arises from illegal dumping at op shops. Charities have to pay to dispose of this material - this diverts funds away from the community help that they provide.

Source: National Association for Charitable Recycling Organisations

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2018