One of TRAID’s main partners to bring clothes into the charity and fundraise are local authorities, because they give us permission to place our clothes donation banks on recycling sites they own. So, in March, we ran a workshop especially targeted at recycling staff working in councils to support them to increase textile reuse while engaging with communities in their boroughs.
We know from many years of experience collecting and reusing clothes that simply providing recycling facilities in local communities is not enough. It’s also about the service you deliver – so making sure banks are well branded and frequently collected from, it’s about prioritising the reuse of donated clothes – so selling as much as we can in the UK in our charity shops, it’s about working with the local community in a myriad of ways to increase textile reuse by encouraging people to treat their clothes more sustainability – so we run an in-depth education programme for people of all ages in schools, universities, community spaces and businesses.
At the workshop we welcomed over 30 people working in recycling and waste in local authorities across the UK including London, Oxford, Somerset and St Albans. The presentations were delivered by staff at TRAID responsible for key areas like reuse, collections, retail product management and education, plus Michael Singham from the London Borough of Wandsworth and Christina Wells from the London Borough of Hackney talked about their success in increasing textile reuse, while Mike Webster, formerly of TRAID and now at LCRN, gave a great presentation on how services councils must provide, like recycling, can dramatically improve the social and environmental wellbeing of communities.
It was a really inspiring day and an honourable mention also has to go to Shambhu’s, a fantastic vegan and ethical caterer who kept the whole event fed and watered, and to the venue A_Space which was in a gorgeous town house in Islington and a million miles away from the usual corporate venue.