Shelter's King Cross Charity Boutique shop

Everyday we see images of our impact on the environment. Our continued consumption of the world’s resources as well as how we dispose of Single Use Plastics is a concern for everyone. So how can we make a difference to how we shop, consume and get rid of what we don’t need anymore? How can we take an everyday need, such as clothing, and make our shopping habits more sustainable?  When you consider it takes over 2,000 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans* is it time to re-think  how and where we shop?  The answer is on every high street – the local charity shop!

Charity retail – shopping for good

Sorting donations

Sorting donations

On average, each charity shop diverts around 29 tonnes** of textiles away from landfill. The Charity Retail Association estimate that there are over 11,000 charity shops in the UK. Collectively, they are having a hugely positive impact on our environment. When some shops on the high street are struggling, the charity shop is not just surviving – it’s thriving! With an estimated income of over £270 million raised from retail shops, it’s important to remember that this is money destined for the local hospice, valuable research and as well as supporting society’s most vulnerable. But more than this, the Charity shop is bringing together communities on a local level, as well as changing the way we think nationally. Is it time for a paradigm shift on our preconceptions?

Saying “No to New” and fast fashion!

Looking for bargains

Looking for second hand bargains

This month we have seen Oxfam’s Second hand September, encouraging people to think again about the fashion they are buying and to say No to New for 30 days. More than two tonnes of new clothes are bought every minute in the UK. Oxfam calculated if everyone in the UK took part in Second Hand September the UK would save the same amount of emissions as flying a plane around the world 900 times. The Charity Hubbub discovered that 41% of all 18-25 year olds feel pressure to wear a different outfit every time they go out.  According to Fashion United UK, 50% of the clothing in our wardrobes is not re-worn. Onepoll showed us that we don’t even wear 80% of the new fashion we buy! Lee Lucas from the Fashion Retail Academy said “Recycling clothes is not only good for the consumer who can purchase clothes more affordably but also massively reduces the environmental impact of our clothes and lessons our personal fashion footprint”

Retail giants such as Asda are also recognising the damage of fast fashion on the environment by launching initiatives like Re-Loved.  It is clear the whole fashion landscape is starting to change, and it all started in your local charity shop first!

Want to find out more about our work with over 100 UK charities, get in touch here!

I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy


* source from

** source from the Charity Retail Association