A pilot scheme was set up in September 2012 to re-evaluate our current textile recycling process, which was selling all the Rags* from our retail shops onto textile recyclers. This scheme examined the possibilities of increasing revenue by re-sorting our discarded Rags, focusing initially in four specific areas; Vintage/Retro, clearance items (to support a new shop), saleable items returned to standard shops and true Rag items. These results showed the potential of 16% of total rags being recovered, giving a large extra revenue opportunity.
The next challenge was to find a dual purpose site, large enough to support the resorting project and allowing expansion into other areas, with a shop attached to sell the clearance items thus avoiding further transport costs. In March 2013 the Resorting Centre was opened with a full time manager and two part time deputies, the Clearance shop opened at the start of April 2013. In order to monitor the outputs of the project, all items that are returned back to shops are tagged with a pre printed bar code for our Epos system to track. To fully understand this concept, all Shop Managers were invited to see the process first hand.
Additional revenue benefits to this project involve the team expanding into an upcycling section encompassing areas such as, bunting, felting, and removing unusual buttons, to sell in the shops. This will generate new volunteer opportunities in order to support this initiative.
We intend to further develop this initial project to resorting books in Sept 2013. This journey will continue to grow and adapt and creates a clear strong platform for further revenue developments, working on the concept of generating more income from our existing donations whilst reducing waste.
*Rags = donated clothes considered unsaleable