It is estimated 336,000 tonnes of used clothing are thrown in the bin in the UK every year. Charity shops are inundated with unwanted fashion items, as they become treated like recycling bins rather than shops where goods are sold. There is a huge environmental and social cost in the production process. Workers are exploited and polluting chemicals continue to be used, driven by the demand for fast fashion.

Fashion sustainability requires clothes to be made in an ethical way, where materials are valued and clothes are made to last. At the end of their life, clothes should be responsibly recycled into new garments.

Local issues & actions

Pre-loved or second-hand clothes are becoming more accessible through online resale sites. These allow people to trade good-quality used clothes and to swap items through an app on their mobile phone. Locally you can find unique pre-loved fashion items in small independents like Brockhurst Boutique in Chesham for a fraction of their original cost. Visit local charity shops where bargains are even greater.

Many items can be repaired locally at repair shops, such as Bluebell Dry Cleaners , or the Artful Menders in Chesham, to extend the life of garments. Look out for fun ‘swishing’ events locally where people can swap items of clothing at no cost.

High street stores like M&S, Zara and H&M also offer to take in used clothing and some offer a voucher in return for every bag donated.

What you can do

1. Don’t buy fast fashion; buy to last.

2. Wear what you’ve already got and repair if necessary.

3. Donate resaleable items to raise funds for charity, like Thrift+, TRAID, or any other charity shop.

4. Buy pre-loved clothing, swap items or shop for vintage.

5. Launder clothing with care and only when really necessary.

6. Support Made in the UK brands like Community Clothing.



With Thrift+, you can shop for high-quality men’s and women’s secondhand clothes, from the best of the high street to designer brands like Burberry and

Read more >


TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away. They turn clothes into funds and resources to reduce the social and environmental

Read more >


Re-Fashion sells any item of women’s clothing from the high street. Any items donated that cannot be sold go to RAG which are upcycled into

Read more >


Offering women’s and children’s clothing, Loopster is ‘on a mission to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry by buying and selling second-hand fashion.’

Read more >