When you donate a bag of clothing to our Hospice shops the items are sorted, steamed and priced for sale.If the item is not appropriate for the season, we try to store it in one of our warehouses until the season is right.
Sometimes donated items are unable to be sold due to their poor condition.St Michael’s Hospice sells such clothes and textiles to a recycling company called Bristol Textile Recyclers who will pay by the weight of the bags.This is an important additional income stream to the Hospice plus it diverts textile waste from landfill sites.
The textiles are taken to BTR’s factory in Bristol where they are offloaded onto conveyor belts and expertly separated into different ‘grades’ of which there are over 100.Similar types of textiles are grouped together according to their potential reuse and destination.
Grouped garments are then packed into bales to be shipped to different countries including those in Africa.The bales are loaded onto 40ft containers before being taken to the port to be exported.Once containers arrive in Africa the bales are moved to a warehouse ready for distribution.Local traders and market stallholders rely on these garments for their livelihood, buying as many bales as they can afford to sell items in their shops or on street stalls.Many of the textiles are bought to be made into other garments.
Our shops will always try to recycle anything that is not suitable for sale, but they do not exist as a replacement amenity tip; in fact it costs the Hospice money to dispose of unrecyclable items. It is for this reason that we politely request that donated items are of good quality. Always ask “would I buy this?” If the answer is “no”, please think twice before donating any item that isn't clothing; if the answer is “yes” then we will gratefully receive your donation in any of our shops. Clothing, linen, curtains etc that aren't good enough for resale can still be donated as rags. Please put any such items in a bag clearly labelled 'RAGS' so that volunteers know the items are not to be sorted and be passed straight on.
The Hospice is very grateful for the support it gets through items donated to its shops; the revenue they generate plays a significant part in raising the £4 million needed to enable us to offer specialist support to those with progressive life-limiting illnesses and their families and friends.