New Life for Ruined and Worn out Textiles

Tring textile and clothes bank

The Salvation Army is known for its longstanding commitment to reuse and recycling. To tackle the problem of unwearable clothing and household linens which cannot be reused, Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL), the trading arm of the charity, is running a regional trial in partnership with Tesco which aims to encourage customers to donate worn out textiles to specially designed textile collection banks.

SATCoL has a long-established relationship with Tesco that includes their in-store Takeback Scheme and over 2,000 clothing banks located at Tesco car parks. Their latest venture aims to extend their efforts to reduce textiles waste, in collaboration with the ACT UK (Automatic-sorting for Circularity in Textiles), and led by the UK Fashion and Textile Association. ACT UK is a group of brands, retailers, textile recyclers, industry associations, technologies, clothing manufacturers and academic institutions which will pioneer automated sorting and pre-processing facilities which could eventually divert thousands of tonnes of textile waste from landfill and disposal each year.

This trial will last for 6 months and SATCoL has placed 18 new textile collection banks at Tesco recycling sites, with further banks placed at two Household Waste Recycling Centres in the East of England. The trial will ask donors to separate clothing and home textiles into two different textile banks – one for reusable items titled Wear Again and the other for non-reusable items for recycling titled Worn Out. Donors will be given information on the front of each bank to explain the textiles that can be deposited.

The Tesco Superstore in London Road, Tring, is one of the 18 locations.

A media campaign titled #RuinedNotWasted to engage, inspire and empower citizens in the 20 chosen communities for the trial, will form part of the activity and help raise the profile for this initiative in the East of England region. The campaign images and video content will feature examples of everyday mishaps with clothing and household linens, as well as worn out items, with a clear message that asks people to sort their textiles and donate to the trial ‘Worn Out, Wear Again’ clothing banks.

As part of the trial, Salvation Army Trading Company will analyse donations to understand more about motivations and changes in donor behaviour. Donors are also able to continue to donate good quality clothing to the Wear Again banks which provides donations and raises funds for The Salvation Army. There are approx. 9,000 clothing banks and over 240 charity shops across the UK operated by SATCoL on behalf of the parent charity.

Bernie Thomas, Circular Economy and Sustainability Manager at SATCoL shared: ‘Recycling-only collections could help capture more of the 300,000 tonnes of clothing that is presently disposed of in household bins each year. Separating items in this way, at source, could help make sure that worn out textiles are given a second life. Rather than being wasted, recyclable textiles would be collected and reprocessed at scale, using innovative textiles recycling technology to repurpose textile fabrics and fibres back into new products.’

For more information follow #acttakeback or visit or