Oxfam estimates that it is saving 7200 tonnes of clothing from going into landfill every year thanks to its Wastesaver processing plant.
Oxfam is one of the only charities to operate its own textile sorting facility. Donations of clothing that remain unsold in Oxfam’s shops are sent for processing at the Wastesaver facility in Batley, West Yorkshire to maximise revenue and minimise landfill.
Oxfam is urging people to donate goods to their local Oxfam shop as a sustainable way of dealing with unwanted possessions.
None of the textiles that arrive at Oxfam’s Wastesaver plant go to landfill. Some items are redistributed to other shops in Oxfam’s network, or its unique online shop (www.oxfam.org.uk/shop), or pop-up shops at festivals.
The majority of garments are resold either to other markets outside the UK, or to reprocessors to be turned into upholstery stuffing or cleaning cloths. A small proportion of items which cannot be reused or recycled in any way are sent to be incinerated at a green energy plant, which is managed by an external contractor in West Yorkshire that produces electricity for the local area. The textiles the plant receives from Oxfam generate enough electricity to power 400 homes a year.
Wastesaver’s activities ensure that the charity raises the most money possible from people’s generous donations, generating over half a million pounds profit a year for Oxfam’s programme work.
Fee Gilfeather, Oxfam’s Head of Customer Experience said: “If you’re having a clear out, or refreshing your wardrobe, don’t just throw your old things away – give your unwanted clothes to your local Oxfam shop. We work hard to make the most of every donation that we receive to carry on our life-saving work around the world.”
A 2017 study for Oxfam showed that the average British woman wears just five complete outfits on a loop. Of the 1,000 men polled in the study, just over half admit they don’t wear at least 30 per cent of the clothes they own.
Money raised from the sale of donated goods pays for Oxfam’s life-saving work to reach people cut off from food and water in Yemen, respond to outbreaks of Ebola in DRC and provide clean water for people fleeing fighting in Syria.
Last year, the network of 630 shops in the UK and the Oxfam Online Shop raised almost £22 million for the charity’s work fighting extreme poverty and suffering in more than 60 countries around the world.