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Autumn Sustainable Clothes Swaps hit new records


Swappers browse through second-hand clothing at the October Sustainable Clothes Swap

Nearly 200 people chose to "swap not shop" at our autumn Sustainable Clothes Swaps. The events, which took place in Berkhamsted Civic Centre in September and the Forum in Hemel Hempstead in October, were organised to give people the opportunity to see that second hand doesn’t mean second best and that you can easily update your wardrobe with no cost to you, or the environment.

Swappers were allowed to bring a maximum of 10 good quality items to exchange for items of clothing which were new to them. The swaps were completely free to take part in, which helped ensure that as many people could take part as possible.

More than 1,400 items of clothing were brought along by the swappers, of which 96 per cent were swapped. This makes the swaps the most successful yet in their four-year history. By swapping 1,432 items of clothes instead of buying new, residents have prevented approximately 8.5 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) that would have been used to produce new items. That’s the same carbon emissions as driving around the equator!

On average, 30 per cent of the clothing in our wardrobes hasn't been worn for over a year. The textile industry is responsible for 10 per cent of global carbon emissions, making it one of the most polluting industries in the world. Clothes Swaps are a great way to fight "fast fashion", which is creating an environmental crisis.

Every year, Hertfordshire residents dispose of more than 7,000 tonnes of textiles as refuse, when they could have been reworn, repaired or recycled instead.

At the end of the October event, an additional opportunity was given to residents in particular need to take clothes without prior donation. This resulted in 40 items of clothing being given out - this new initiative is set to be repeated at future clothes swaps. The remaining winter clothes were donated to the Air Ambulance and Cancer Research UK charities where they will be sold on to support these causes. The summer clothes have been saved ready for the next Sustainable Clothes Swaps in spring. 

The spring Swaps will be in March 2023 – more details will be announced closer to the time on our Clothes and Textiles page. Alternatively, if you would like to be added to the Clothes Swap mailing list to find out about future Swaps in Dacorum, please email recycle@dacorum.gov.uk

If you have items that are not suitable to be swapped, please do not dispose of them in your normal household bin. There are plenty of online guides to help you repair clothes or remove stains, or to find the location of your nearest textile bank, visit our Recycle Centres page.