Charities celebrate a happy new year with a boom In second-hand goods

Clearing out unwanted items after Christmas leads to a boom in business for the second-hand goods market, helping charities – and, better still, it’s good for the environment.

After their homes become cluttered with Christmas gifts and items bought in the sales, many people in the UK have a big New Year clear-out, with a staggering 73,000 tonnes of clothing and 60,000 tonnes of electrical goods being thrown out in January. This £70 million influx of clothing is 30% above the average amount that textile processors usually collect, and the discarded electrical equipment, worth about £20 million, is about double the usual amount.

Whilst much waste electrical equipment is broken up for recycling, nearly half can be sold on eBay or through charity shops, which do well out of people’s unwanted things – and the popularity of second-hand electrical goods means the market is growing by over 40% per year, thanks to local authorities, charities and retailers working in partnership.

Charity shops are increasingly willing to sell refurbished goods, and can find it difficult to keep up with demand. This is possibly because people are holding on to old equipment for longer in the current economic climate, but people may also be donating to companies that pay cash for clothes – as well as unscrupulous collectors posing as reputable organisations. Bogus collectors are responsible for charities losing over £50 million a year, according to the Charity Retail Association. It is getting “increasingly harder to find donations”, said Helena King, of Age UK.

Recycling Lives is dedicated to ensuring that as much clothing and electrical equipment as possible is reused and recycled. Not only does it recycle a wide range of waste products, diverting them from landfill; it also works towards sustaining charity through metal and waste recycling. Its Community Dotcom schemes enable people to throw out their unwanted goods with peace of mind, knowing that a good home will be found for everything that can be used again.

Furniture Donation Network takes used furniture that is in very good or excellent condition, which is then donated by charities to people in need or sold, boosting the charities’ revenue. Bulky Waste, like Furniture Donation Network, collects a range of large items, including televisions and ovens – but the goods can be in any condition.

If they are of good quality, they are refurbished and then donated to charity; if they are beyond repair, they will be processed in an eco-friendly way at a recycling plant. The processing is often carried out by the individuals Recycling Lives supports through its social welfare charity, which enables homeless people to access accommodation, training and employment – yet another good reason to choose Recycling Lives’s Community Dotcom schemes when you are getting rid of your unwanted things!