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WRAP releases consumer textiles survey

WRAP has released its third yearly sustainable textiles tracking survey to identify attitudes of consumers buying, using and disposing of clothes.

The survey captured the opinions of 2,000 people, covering various aspects of textile usage from washing to repairing.

It found that, overall, 59% gave clothes to charity, with 41% going to a charity shop and 18% via charity bags (as pictured).

Those aged 55+ are more likely to donate their clothes to a charity shop, with 51% giving away old clothes compared with 36% of 18-34s and 35% of 35-54s.

Six per cent of unwanted textiles go into residual waste. WRAP figures show that the amount of clothing in household residual waste has reduced by 50,000 tonnes since 2012, to 300,000 tonnes in 2015.

The ability to make repairs and alterations rather than purchasing a new item varied across difficulty.

  • 75% of consumers felt confident to sew a button on
  • 68% remove a stain
  • 42% take hem up/down
  • 39% patch hole
  • 28% dye item

Confidence fell for more complicated alterations, such as replacing a zip and redesigning an item, both at 17%, with only 14% confident to replace a pocket and 12% able to take in/out. Those unable to do any repairs or alterations accounted for 13%.

wrap 2

wrap repairs

The survey reports that shopping habits could become smarter and more sustainable, with a distinction being made between the intentions of consumers when shopping of what is important to them, and what they ultimately buy.

Although 28% of consumers regard clothes that have a low environmental impact as important, only 23% look for them when shopping, the same for as ethically produced clothes.

Durability was more concerning to consumers, with 63% of shoppers looking for clothes that are made to last, with 73% classing it as important.

  • WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) 2020 commitment currently has 80 signatories, including Asos and Arcadia, and supporters who represent more than 58% of UK retail sales by volume. It is an industry-wide commitment by clothing designers, brands, manufacturers, retailers and recycling organisations to drive more sustainable production and increase textiles reuse and recycling.

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