Waste prevention has moved up the waste management agenda in recent years. However it is nothing new to the network of charity shops across the county. Charity shops have been providing an opportunity for reuse for many years. The Irish Charity Shops Association website points out that Irish charity shops divert over 10,000 tons of clothes, shoes and textiles from landfill each year.
Reuse is prioritised over recycling. 80% of textiles donated go for reuse while the remainder gets recycled as re-carded wool or cotton or as insulation and padding in the furniture and motor industry.
Using charity shops we all win. Less waste is good for the environment. The charity receives the all important funds generated through the shops. The shopper get a unique bargain that can often make a statement unlike mass produced fashion which come and go.
Charity shops are always looking for good quality donations. It is important to appreciate that not everything sells well. Before filling the bags and boxes to leave down to your local charity shops check with them what donations they can handle. They will know from experience what will sell and what unfortunately might just add to their waste disposal costs
Good goods will always find a new home, not so good might take from the revenue of your chosen charity. Books, clothes, textiles and shoes are usually welcome. Bric 'n' brac and toys are often a bit more tricky to re-home.
The Bray and Wicklow Recycling Centres are unique in that both have charity shops on site. Oxfam Ireland operate a shop in The Murrough Recycling Centre in Wicklow. Five Loaves have a shop in Bray Recycling Centre.
For more information on charity shops check out Irish Charity Shops Association