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Feature: Quality collections

Business people across London are comparing the quality of their cast-offs following the launch of an
initiative that calls for them to raid their wardrobes and say goodbye to the vintage dresses and designer jackets that seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Suit into Loot, a partnership between Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development (Traid) and London Recycling, is a service offered to companies
in the capital so that staff can responsibly dispose
of unwanted items. The concept is simple: bags are
delivered to the offices, staff fill them with clothes
they do not want any more and then take them back to work.

“The idea was conceived a couple of years ago when we met one of the directors of London Recycling at a waste management event,” says Traid’s communications manager Kelly O’Connor.

“Obviously Traid’s goal is
to collect more clothes and London Recycling offers
collection to offices in the capital. It took a little while to get off the ground, but now London Recycling handles all the logistics of the collection side and we promote the scheme.”

A trial Suit into Loot Week was carried out before Christmas, which involved 15 small firms across London and one business with three sites across the city.

“We thought it was important to have a trial run before the official launch on January 23 and iron out any kinks in the process,” says O’Connor.

Compared with their regular collections, O’Connor says that the quality of clothes produced by Suit into Loot was three or four times better and that it was quality and not quantity that they were expecting.

“One thing that we found important from the trials was having a contact in each of the locations who
would spread the word to their colleagues and encourage them to take part,” he adds.

The clothes collected will be sold in Traid’s shops and, depending on the item, may be customised into a one-off piece.

Half a tonne of high-quality clothing and shoes was collected in the first Suit into Loot Week of 2006 from Tower 42, which has 3,000 employees, the South East London Health Authority and the Dominion Theatre.

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