Waste prevention has become a real buzzword in the fight against waste in recent years. However, it is nothing new to the network of charity shops across the county. Charity shops have been providing an opportunity for reusing items for many years now. The Irish Charity Shops Association points out that Irish charity shops deal with 22,440 tons of clothes, shoes and textiles each year, which potentially otherwise could go into landfill.
Reuse is prioritised over recycling. About 80% of textiles donated go for reuse while the remainder gets recycled as re-carded wool or cotton or as insulation and padding in the furniture and motor industry.
By using charity shops, we all win. Less waste is good for the environment. The charity receives the all-important funds generated through the shops. The shopper get a unique bargain that can often make more of a statement than cheap mass-produced fashion.
Charity shops are always looking for good quality donations. It is important to appreciate that not everything sells well. Before filling the bags and boxes to leave down to your local charity shops check with them what donations they can handle. They will know from experience what will sell and what unfortunately might just add to their waste disposal costs.
Quality goods will always find a new home, but items that are not so good might take from the revenue of your chosen charity. Books, clothes, textiles and shoes are usually welcome. Bric 'n' brac and toys are often a bit more tricky to re-home.
The Bray and Wicklow Recycling Centres are unique in that both have charity shops onsite. Oxfam Ireland operates a shop in The Murrough Recycling Centre in Wicklow. Five Loaves has a shop in Bray Recycling Centre.
For more information on charity shops, check out Irish Charity Shops Association