Textile recyclers are calling for greater vigilance over unlicensed charity clothing bank operators following an example from Essex highlighted by a BBC programme.
The Fake Britain show, broadcast on BBC1 in some parts of the country on 9 January, reported on half-a-dozen banks in the Harlow area with the branding ‘Kids Go Green’. It is not a registered charity and the banks contained no contact details.
The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) wants landowners, local authorities and legitimate bank operators to be alert to scam operators, although director Alan Wheeler acknowledged that the vast majority of clothing collection banks were operated legitimately and helped to raise millions of pounds for charitable causes.
He said: “In a number of instances, unscrupulous operators are simply dumping clothing collection banks on sites without any permission from landowners or site operators. They are profiteering through deceiving the public and a lack of action to get these banks removed.”
The TRA said the process for getting unlicensed clothing banks removed legally is straightforward. It is offering advice and assistance in the removal process.
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President Ian Woods added that unlicensed banks should be removed even if those respnsible purport to be raising money for a registered UK charity.
“Regrettably, there are a very small number of sham charities, registered with the Charity Commission, that have been set up for illegal or improper purpose by some illegitimate clothing collectors, purely so that they can carry the charity branding on their banks.
”From the evidence we have seen, very little, if any, money raised through the sale of clothing collected through these banks actually ends up being used for the charities’ stated philanthropic aims.”
A legitimate clothing collection bank should carry the name of the business servicing the bank (or well-known charity), with traceable contact details such a landline telephone number and website which provides a postal address.