Rags-to-riches bonus for charities

Press Release: 06/09/2013

Charities and communities are set to cash in on a drive to make the most out of textile recycling banks.

A joint scheme by East Hampshire District Council and Winchester City Council aims to streamline the way in which textiles are collected.

At the moment five charities operate on council-owned sites - 12 in East Hampshire and 29 in Winchester - but the two authorities believe much more income could be generated by masterminding the exercise themselves and by expanding the network.

They would guarantee that the charities' incomes matches or exceeds what it is now, and plough the surplus into local community projects.

If the scheme goes ahead it will mean handing the recycling contract to the specialist European Recycling Company which already runs a service for Fareham Borough Council and Portsmouth City Council and has promised far higher returns than those achieved by the charities.

More council-owned sites would be identified - a total of 33 in East Hants and 38 in Winchester - so that people can use them in confidence, knowing that their donations genuinely benefit worthy causes including the five charities - Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, Oxfam, British Heart Foundation, Salvation Army and Traid.

Textile recycling of items like clothing, shoes, curtains and blankets has become big business and is turned into a variety of other materials like industrial wipes, mattress fillings, cloths and car insulation.

The councils want to encourage it because it means less pressure on landfill sites.

Cllr Keith Wood, Leader of Winchester City Council, said:

We believe we can create a win-win situation so that everyone benefits. I would like to stress that our charities will not be a penny out of pocket - indeed they may gain income. But the scheme will also give us the resource to direct money to charity and community causes much closer to home.

We are determined to make our recycling services a success and this is an easy and obvious way to do it.