Textile Reuse and Recycling

So what does textile re-use mean?

Textile reuse is when you buy an item of clothing from a charity shop, second hand/vintage shop, or swap clothes with your friends instead of buying a new item. New clothes are comparatively very cheap and are often imported from low wage economies in Asia and eastern Europe. These clothes are designed to be worn a few times and to be replaced in a few weeks/months. 

Textile reuse is the largest re-use activity in Ireland. Charity shops are the main drivers of this re-use activity and have been operating in this space for over 25 years.

How much clothing is reused through charity shops?

23,000 tonnes of textiles are processed through our charity shop members, all of which is diverted from landfill or incineration.

12,000 tonnes are sold to our customers and are reused.

11,000 tonnes are sent to textile recyclers.

Why should I donate to a charity shop?

Donate one 10kg bag of clothes to a charity shop:

  • €50 to €70 will go to an Irish charity 
  • Funding community services here or abroad
  • Good quality clothes at affordable prices are made available for people who have limited disposable income.

Give the same 10kg bag to a commercial textile merchant through a clothing bank or door to door collection

  • €2 to €4 will go to the charity partner
  • The clothing will be exported losing the value to the Irish economy
  • The textile merchant will benefit from the true value of the clothes

If you donate directly to commercial textile recyclers through clothing banks then the textiles and their value is exported. They are not available to the Irish general public for re-use. And the Irish charity sector, who fund services in your community, does not benefit from the potential income.

Please donate directly to your local charity shop! Find one here.

Clothing banks that are 100% charity 

ICSA members who operate Clothing Banks where all the proceeds go to the charity are: 

There are over 500 ICSA member banks nationwide so check here for a clothing bank near you.