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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Scots have £1,000 hidden in their closets

This news post is about 9 years old

Shelter Scotland estimates there is £2.4bn worth of unused clothing in Scottish homes

An astonishing £2.4 billion worth of unworn and unwanted clothing is lining Scotland’s wardrobes, according to a leading charity.

Shelter Scotland says the average household has up to £1,000 worth of clothes that have not been worn for at least a year – often because they no longer fit.

The charity is calling on people across Scotland to rummage through wardrobes, drawers, cupboards and attics and donate unwanted items to one of their shops to help them in the fight against bad housing and homelessness.

Last year 36,457 households made homeless applications to their local council in Scotland. Meanwhile, 150,500 households are currently on waiting lists for a home of their own.

We hope that the people of Scotland will continue to support us - Graeme Brown

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “The total cost of unworn clothes is a staggering £2.4 billion in Scotland. Even a very small fraction of that could help Shelter Scotland to continue our fight against bad housing and homelessness.

“It costs just £10 for one of our expert advisors to help a family or individual at risk of losing their home – we can raise that money by selling an unwanted jumper or pair shoes.

Just £45 is enough to train an advisor to protect children at risk, and that money could be raised from selling an unwanted winter coat that’s taking up space in someone’s wardrobe.

“We hope that the people of Scotland will continue to support us, because without their help and generosity our fight to end bad housing and homelessness would be so much harder."

It is estimated that £140 million worth – 350,000 tonnes – of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year – clothes which Shelter Scotland says could be donated to charity.

Environmental charity Wrap says that extending the average life of clothes by just three months by donating them to charity would lead to a 5-10% reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints.

According to Shelter Scotland the top two reasons for why people donate to charity shops are to help people in need and because it’s a convenient way to get rid of items they no longer need.