Buy Less, Wear More: news from Recycle Devon

How to get the best out of our clothes and minimise waste: news from the County Council

Dear Transition groups,

As I am sure you are well aware, fast fashion is a massive environmental issue with clothing being the largest environmental impact a person has after housing, food and transport. A recent residual bin waste study found that textiles made up 5% of the household bins. This resource could be better used to support charities and community actions such as clothes swaps. In Devon no kerbside waste goes to landfill and this stream will go to the energy from waste plant in Exeter.

During the pandemic we have all had a chance to evaluate how we use resources and many people have become more resilient, as they have had to! The aim of this campaign is to build upon some of the skills that people may have already have. There are videos on how to make simple repairs, how to use old textiles to make reusable kitchen roll and how to be creative and repurpose items of clothing you already own.

Please see below for all the details. If you have any questions, then please don't hesitate to get in touch. Please share with any groups you feel would be interested.

On monday 7th September, Recycle Devon is launching a paid for campaign Buy Less, Wear More targeted at women 25-45 years old with a focus on textiles. The campaign runs until 31st October. The aim is to work with the general public to promote the importance of reducing the amount of textiles that are thrown away each year. This is a key area to tackle as textiles as they make up 5% of the general black bin contents as per the 2017 residual waste survey.


As ever our message is a gentle nudge to influence behaviour change, our aim is to help educate and inform the public on their options. Increasingly there is an awareness of the environmental impact of clothing and there are lots of things that can be done to reduce this impact. In 2019, UK shoppers spent an estimated 2.7 billion on clothes they wore only once. The majority of our Devon councils collect textiles for recycling but still too much ends up in the bin and heads to the energy from waste plant, this resource could be used to support the work of local charities.


This campaign will be help people learn new skills, such as simple repairs, use their creativity, repurpose textiles and make sure any that are no longer needed are disposed of in a responsible way. Devon residents can get involved and take a pledge with the chance of winning one of 10 Duronic clothing de - bobblers, they will then be directed to find out more information on the topic that they are most interested in.


The pledges:


•Wear it - I pledge to save money and use these inspiring ways to create a fresh look from clothes that I already have


•Repair it - I pledge to keep my clothes looking great for longer with these simple tips and tricks


•Donate it - I pledge to swap, donate or even sell my clothes to pass on the love for any unwanted items


•Repurpose it - I pledge to make reusable kitchen roll, make-up wipes and much more from unwanted clothing and fabric


The pledges are all online and it's a simple process to enter. Once the person has selected their pledge they can then access some of the resources available such as tutorials on how to turn unwanted textiles into reusable kitchen roll or face cloths or view a video on how to make simple sewing repairs.


The campaign is designed to promote the use of charity shops and encourage people to rethink their approach to clothing, encouraging the purchase of sustainable, well-made clothes that will last and be worn, not hung in a wardrobe and forgotten about. As ever we are keen to have feedback from our local communities, via our social media on related activities they undertake, that might be items of clothing they have repurposed, sewing repairs they have made or even something like the oldest item of clothing they have and still wear.


I have attached some of the artwork which I would encourage you to share on your social media platforms. If you do use them please tag in Recycle Devon and/or look out for the organic posts via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and share/retweet.


The reuse project, has a number of clothes swishing kits that can be borrowed free of charge by schools, community and members of the public. This community action is a great way of keeping usable items out of the waste stream and encourage community engagement (when covid restrictions allow). The Recycle Devon website has lots of information about ways that members of the public can reduce their waste and increase the amount of reuse they undertake.


Press release:



With very best wishes

 Catherine Causley

Re Use Project Officer

Waste Management

Devon County Council

Matford Offices

Topsham Road

Exeter, EX2 4QD



(Phone: 01392 383000



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