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Celebrating a revolution in clothing donation

08 November 2023, Retail

Celebrating three years of re-use, repurpose and recycling impact 

This recycling week, Save the Children Op Shops are celebrating three years in partnership with Australia and New Zealand’s leader in textile recovery and recycling, UPPAREL. 

And there’s plenty to celebrate, thanks to you, our loyal supporters in helping us save the world from over-consumption, and our fantastic partner, UPPAREL.  

All those T-Shirts, skirts, pants and coats donated to our re-use, repurpose and recycling program have added up to make a huge difference. Here are just some of the highlights of how your pre-loved clothing is helping to change the world for the better!

Since September 2020, our partnership has continued to grow: 

  • In three years, UPPAREL and Save the Children have saved 67,596 items from landfill, raising over $700,000 for vulnerable children. 
  • From July 2022 to June 2023, on average, 96% of donated items were resold, and the remaining 4% were appropriately recycled through UPPAREL's streams. 
  • In the same period total sales equalled nearly 5 times more than the previous year, with 3.5 more items sold - predominantly driven by increased donations into South Australia and Victoria.  

And it just keeps on getting better – so far in 2023, sales are 5 times greater than our first whole year of partnership in 2021. 

Our goal is to ensure that no donated item ends up in landfill. To counter the traditional clothing consumption model of 'take, make and dispose', we've grown our circular model with UPPAREL that makes sure every donated item through our partnership is re-used, recycled or repurposed.   

If you’ve been out of the recycle loop, here’s a reminder of how it works  

You might have heard of UPPAREL in ABC's latest season of War on Waste! UPPAREL collects unwanted textiles from individuals and brands across the country, and once it arrives at their facility in Victoria, each and every garment is carefully sorted.   

Reusable textiles are distributed amongst Australian-based charities – we're fortunate to receive weekly donations into Victoria and South Australia, with extra stock sent to Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia on occasion.   

Items that can't be re-used are recycled – these are further categorised and organized based on the appropriate recycling channel. The majority are recycled into a very fine, fluffy fibre, which is used to replace virgin polyester filling in toys and cushions. Earlier in 2023, UPPAREL launched UPtex, a completely recycled and recyclable rigid panel material, which can be used to make packaging, signage and homewares! 

Stay up to date on how Save the Children is creating a world where every child has a safe and happy childhood