The stark impact on the UK textile recycling industry of falling prices combined with a stronger pound has been spelled out by the Textile Recycling Association (TRA).
TRA director Alan Wheeler told the textile division of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) at its convention in Paris that the value of used clothing in the UK had fallen 40% in the past 12 months.
He said charity shop prices had slumped from around £600 per tonne to around £340, and a similar decline had affected textile banks.
“Confidence in the market has dissipated,” he told BIR delegates. “Many UK-based collectors are predicting that the value of British used clothing will continue to fall and when you look across the various factors, it is hard to disagree.”
Wheeler also pointed out that the relative strength of the UK economy meant that the pound was 10% higher against the euro than it was 12 months ago, making exports more expensive.
He also told delegates about the recent report from the London Waste and Recycling Board, produced by the TRA, which considered theft of used clothing and bogus charity collections.
Wheeler said it was the result of independently verified research and the figures indicated the problem was less acute than previously thought.