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Shoe banks' charity return criticised

Individual shoe recycling banks bring less than £4.50 a year to the charity they are advertised as benefiting, according to a national newspaper report.

The Guardian said the privately-owned European Recycling Company, which owns more than 7,000 collections points, donated just £5,500 to the Variety Club in 2009 whilst the company made more than £350,000 profit.

The Fundraising Standards Board told the paper it is looking into whether the scheme is breaking laws which say recycling points should display a breakdown of charity donation figures.

Agnieszka Swita, a spokesperson for the Variety Club told the Guardian: “We use two slogans – ‘Every pair of shoes donated helps us to help them [children]’ or ‘Recycling your shoes could help buy a wheelchair for a child’ – and they are both true.”

Andy Haws

ERC UK chief executive Andy Haws, left, said: “Where we can, we like to share some of our profits with our partner charity the Variety and in 2011 expect to donate £35,000.

“It is not intended to mislead, and we will review any comments of this nature with Variety to ensure communication is entirely transparent.

“People increasingly understand the environmental impact of the one million tonnes of clothes and shoes thrown into landfill each year.

“Our business is there to help them to reuse or recycle these items. It provides people all over the world with low cost and high quality clothing and allows other items to be recycled appropriately.”

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