High cotton prices are not expected to have much of an impact on textile collections, according to some in the textile recycling industry.
Cotton has hit its highest value since the American Civil War in 1861, trading at around $2 per pound and increasing the retail price of clothing. However, this is not expected to reduce the amount of clothing that consumers discard.
Clothes Aid spokesperson Megan Weston said: “We have seen a drop in donations since the year started but these are now starting to pick up. We found that this was a result of bogus collectors taking stock to sell on the black market.
“At the moment, we haven’t seen people holding on to their garments. They are still hooked into fast fashion. But high clothing prices could have an effect in future.”
According to Clothes Aid the average price of charity rags, depending on the material quality, is £600 to £800 per tonne.
It recently carried out four raids at bogus collectors’ yards in the space of two weeks, recovering 41 tonnes of recovered textiles. On the black market the material would fetch £41,000.
According to consultancy PCI Fibres managing director Peter Driscoll, the flooding in Pakistan combined with a shortage of crops and investor interest has led to the sky high cotton prices. In addition, man-made fibres have also increased sharply because of oil prices and further demand as manufacturers seek to use polyester in place of cotton.