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Our Earth’s resources are precious to our future. That’s why we need to be careful about what we use, why we need to think twice before we overuse, and why we need to make an effort to reuse and recycle. 

The Salvation Army’s trading arm, Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (or more commonly known as SATCoL), gives us all the opportunity to do just that; with recycling banks, door-to-door collections and charity shops across the UK and Republic of Ireland, you can help to make sure we lessen our impact on overflowing landfill sites by donating your unwanted clothes and household items for reuse and recycling. Not only that, profit that SATCoL receives from your donations is given to The Salvation Army to support our projects throughout the country. Between April 2009 and March 2014 alone your unwanted clothes and household items raised £39.5 million! 

Why recycle? 

  • Giving your unwanted clothing and household items to SATCoL’s recycling banks and door-to-door collection raises millions of pounds every year for The Salvation Army 
  • An estimated £140 million worth (350,000 tonnes) of used clothing goes to waste in landfill every year 
  • Clothing made from natural materials like cotton, wool and leather will produce a range of greenhouse gases while biodegrading in landfill sites 
  • For every tonne of textiles reused rather than sent into landfill carbon dioxide emissions – a major cause of global warming – are reduced by 7 tonnes
  • Extending the average life of clothes by nine months would save £5 billion in resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing 

SATCoL regularly exports more than 34,000 tonnes of textiles for reuse and recycling each year. That is an annual saving of more than 238,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.  SATCoL is a market leader in collecting textiles within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Through the clothing collection schemes and charity shops, you have all sorts of easy and convenient ways to divert old clothes and other unwanted items from landfill.  * Source of statistics: WRAP 

Schools recycling programme 

It’s important to teach children and young people from an early age about recycling to help encourage behaviour change in future generations.

SATCoL works with hundreds of schools and colleges throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland to run recycling schemes that give young people the opportunity to make donations safely and easily at their school, whilst learning about clothing recycling and raising money. 

Find out more about the fun and informative Recycle with Michael scheme as well as other ways to get students involved in recycling.

Environmental credentials 

Currently, less than 1% of what is collected by SATCoL is sent to landfill. The other 99% is reused or recycled while they work towards a target of zero waste to landfill. Find out about the initiatives in place to reach this target along with SATCoL’s environmental accreditations and memberships here. 

Our history in recycling 

The Salvation Army’s recycling initiatives actually have their origins in a scheme started in 1985 by Salvation Army officer Terry Pattinson. At the time, Terry was in charge of Mountbatten House in Southampton, a 106-bed Salvation Army centre that cared for older people and also provided detoxification services. Inspired by a clothing collection scheme he saw in action whilst visiting Australia, he returned to Southampton believing that a similar scheme in the UK could raise funds for Mountbatten House and provide work for its residents. 

From those early origins, there are now over 6,500 clothing banks available for the public to make donations, along with a door-to-door collection scheme that delivers over 400,000 recycling bags in the UK.