Donate to a good cause and help save the planet
Ella Nicholls, a Herts and Essex High School student and aspiring journalist who has been doing work experience at the Indie, writes about a simple change we can all implement to help reduce our carbon footprint following a visit to the St Clare Hospice donation centre in Bishop's Stortford
Donating to and buying from charity shops is the best way to save the planet and support good causes.
The fashion industry is notorious for being a significant contributor towards climate change and, according to the United Nations Environment Programme and the Parliamentary European Research Services (PERS), the industry produces 20% of global waste water and 10% of global carbon emissions.
Their practices and manufacturing processes emit serious amounts of greenhouse gas and Co2 emissions (1,715 million tonnes) and the industry uses an astounding 79 billion cubic metres of water per year; for just one pair of normal jeans, 2,000 gallons of water is used for the materials and manufacturing process.
PERS thinks that fast fashion, which is being used in the industry, is resulting in customers seeing cheap items of clothing as easily disposable, meaning they only wear an item of clothing seven to eight times before discarding it and buying more clothes.
According to the waste charity WARP, however, the average clothing item has a lifespan of 2.2 years before it needs to be thrown away and only a quarter of that is recycled.
By donating your old unwanted goods and even buying new goods second hand from charity shops, not only are you helping provide funding for worthwhile causes but also helping to slow the demand for the manufacture of new goods that contributes heavily to climate change.
St Clare Hospice is advocating this. “By donating to us and buying from us you are helping to prevent pre-loved goods going to landfill,” said Emma Sugarman, senior communications officer for the charity.
This also slows the demand for the manufacture of new clothes which decreases the environmental impact that the industry is having.
In Bishop’s Stortford, St Clare has a donation centre at the Links Business Centre on Raynham Road. This is just one of the many ways they are seeking to combat a vicious cycle.
The centre is a one-stop facility for dropping off donations to St Clare. On site they sort through donations from their supporters and ensure that they can make the most out of each and every item donated. They then send them off to their nine shops located throughout West Essex and East Herts.
The donation centre processes around 700 bags or items that have been donated to St Clare every quarter and has roughly 260 volunteers lending a hand in their nine charity shops.
The donation centre holds a 25% off sale on the last Saturday of every month between 8am-4pm and the next one is on Saturday, August 31. The donation centre is also hosting an open day on August 30 and 31.
With their big warehouse, St Clare is able to sell and have furniture donated.
They offer a free furniture collection service if people wish to donate large items and home delivery for furniture at a small fee.
St Clare accepts donations of all kinds, providing they are in good condition, from clothes to furniture to electricals, vintage items, books, instruments and homeware, all second hand so there is no need for a manufacturing process and very little amounts of greenhouse gases are released during the process of buying an item second hand.
There’s also a great chance to snap up some second-hand bargains.
St Clare has 500 volunteers ranging in age. Some volunteer on a monthly basis and some weekly, and there are a variety of roles for anyone interested. The volunteer roles include sorting through donated items and stock at the donation centre, ensuring they make the most of each item by distributing it to their nine shops.
More by this authorBishop's Stortford Independent reporter