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Textile recyclers register to be launched in wake of crimewave

The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) has said 2017 has seen an increase of criminal gangs in the sector, and that a register of approved door-to-door collectors would be launched next year.

Writing for MRW, TRA director Alan Wheeler said that increasing prices for used clothing had led to an upsurge in fake charity collectors and bogus recycling bank operators.

Wheeler said this included an operator that had registered with the Charity Commission, but which placed its banks without permission and “engages in the theft of others”.

He claimed that the operator’s accounts submitted to the Charity Commission showed it was receiving “only a tiny fraction” of the expected income from its banks.

Other crime flagged by the TRA include unlicensed door-to-door collections.

Over the past year, Wheeler has pushed for a register to be set up of approved collectors, which he said would be ready to launch in 2018.

“In essence, applicants to the register would have to go through an independent audit procedure, the requirements of which would be decided by stakeholders from across the used clothing and charity fundraising sector,” he said.

MRW’s index shows the higher-end price for textile bank material has risen by around £100 a tonne over the past year.

In January this year, textile recyclers called 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’ (pictured). It is not a registered charity and the banks contained no contact details.

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