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Kerbside boost for textiles industry

Struggling textile recyclers have been given hope with the announcement that a major waste firm is to trial kerbside collections of the material.

Onyx will take waste clothing from 6,000 homes in Sheffield for six months beginning at the end of April.

Textile merchants have been fighting for their lives in the face of falling quality of supply combined with lower demand due to stronger competition.

If the Onyx trials are successful, many more kerbside collections could follow, providing a much needed boost for the industry.

Onyx operations director for collection and recycling Judith Turner said: "When we studied what items were being thrown away by residents in Sheffield, we found a high percentage of textiles in bins.

"This trial service is designed to make it convenient for people to do their bit at the same time as benefiting charities.

"We hope residents in the trial area will help to make textile recycling a success so we can consider extending it to other areas of the city in the future."

Local charity Reclaim, which employs disadvantaged people, will collect and distribute the textiles on behalf of Onyx. The collections will be made monthly.

Textiles Recycling Association president Terry Ralph summed up the industry's plight at this year's Annual General Meeting.

"Last year was fraught with anxieties concerning failing markets and currency fluctuations," he said.

"We are selling our second-hand clothing at 1995 prices and our recyclables at prices below those achievable in 1985 - but our overheads are at 2005 levels."

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