You may have seen in the news recently that China has tightened its restrictions on the import of various recycled materials – particularly mixed plastics and paper. Your first question might be: Why is any material that’s collected for recycling in the UK going to China? The simple answer is that these materials (like plastics and paper) are global commodities and are sold all over the world where there is a demand for them. China has a huge manufacturing industry that needs raw materials to produce many of the products that we then buy, which is why we sell some of it to Chinese markets. China has introduced these restrictions because it wants to improve the quality of the material that it imports, but also to develop and strengthen its own domestic supply. Material collected for recycling in the UK is still being recycled and is being sent to other markets – a lot of it gets sent much closer to home both in the UK and across Europe – but improving the quality of the material we collect is something we can all help with. For instance by putting out the right things for recycling and making sure that they’re clean. We have lots of information on what you can recycle at https://www.recycleforlondon.com/what-can-i-recycle Finally, why do we sell our recycling at all? Well, it costs money to process all our waste – and councils are the ones who pick up a lot of those costs at the front end when they collect and send it for processing. So the money that UK waste businesses get paid for recycled material essentially helps councils keep their costs down – and that benefits us all by ensuring that councils can spend the money they save on other essential services.
This coming weekend keep an eye out for Charity Fashion Live.
This unique event sets out to prove that fashion is for everyone and not just for those who can afford designer wares. Anyone can look chic regardless of their budget - all it takes is a bit of creativity and some charity shop browsing to seek out hidden treasures. Charity Fashion Live will show you how it's done!
What's it all about?
Make sure you're following Charity Fashion Live on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook this Saturday (18 Feb) to see the team recreate London Fashion Week looks in real time, as they appear on the catwalk, using only what they find in one Barnardo's store!
You'll see how preloved threads can be transformed into the latest looks and you'll pick up loads of styling tips and pointers throughout the day.
Why charity shopping and second hand is a super feel-good option
On average, a third of a person's wardrobe hasn't been worn in the past year, and yet in the UK, each and every year we send more than 350,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill. This works out at around £140 million worth of clothing being wasted every year. Fashion isn't just about looking good, it's about feeling good too, and by buying clothes vintage or second hand, you are doing your bit to cut down the amount of textiles waste. Check out Love Your Clothes for lots of useful info and advice on how to take care of your clothes and keep the love alive for your wardrobe.
Tips on shopping second hand
Many people are put off by the idea of shopping second hand. Here are a few tips and tricks from stylist Emma Slade Edmondson to help you make the most out of your next shopping trip:
It's always good to have an idea of what you are looking to buy. This way you'll be focussed and won't end up buying things you don't need and won't wear. Ask yourself what is the occassion? Are you looking for a key piece or are you searching for clothes and accessories to jazz up an existing item in your wardrobe?
- Think outside the box! You can try turning a long silk scarf into a wrap skirt or wearing a men's skirt as a dress. By choosing items that can be worn in more than one way, you increase the versatility of your wardrobe without needing to buy more clothes.
- Don't shy away from garments that need a bit of TLC. A blouse with a missing button can be easily mended at home, and you can always add colour and fun to old jeans with some fabric paints, patches, heat transfers etc. These are easy to use and can jazz up old favourites
- Consider what the clothes you're buying are made from. A jumper made from cashemere or mohair is not only going to last longer and keep your warmer than an acrylic jumper, but will also add value to your wardrobe. A quick look at the label is always worth it.
In short, don't be afraid to get stuck in! Charity shops will not only save you money; you'll be able to find unique pieces that really show off who you are, whilst helping to reduce the amount of textiles wastage and contributing funding to worthwhile charities. What's not to love!?