Studies have found that 21% of women in the UK have bought a new handbag to go with just one outfit and 16% have bought a handbag on impulse. This leaves the question of what to do with all these bags. We take a look at where to recycle handbags in the UK. Luckily, there is a range of great options.
Handbags, travel bags and shoulder bags are made from a wide variety of materials. This includes everything from animal leathers to vegan leathers and organic cotton. Made from polyester and other plastics, some modern handbags are even just glorified plastic bags.
However, whatever the raw material, sending a product to landfill is not good news for the environment. This is especially true when considering the tonnes of textiles sent to landfill each year.
So how do you avoid your preloved handbag polluting our precious earth?
Where to recycle handbags in the UK
Whether you are wanting to earn some extra cash or support charitable initiatives there are great options for you to give a new life to your old bag.
1. The Salvation Army
Based: United Kingdom
How to be involved: Drop your bag off at a collection point or local charity shop
From supporting the homeless to assisting in international community development and emergency response projects, the Salvation Army works to help those in need. An evangelical Christian church, the organisation aims to help the disadvantaged and vulnerable.
The organisation has more than 400 charity shops across the UK with profits going towards supporting the church’s charitable work. For further information on your closest store check out the website. Items must still be in good condition.
How to be involved: Sign up to the Vinted platform
If you are looking to earn some extra cash for that bag you don’t use, then Vinted may be the right place for you. The platform cuts out the middleman when it comes to selling your unwanted clothes, bags and household items, allowing owners to sell directly to consumers.
Everything from luxury brands, to new and used items, to everyday styles can be sold through the platform. Vinted often even waives the shipping fee on a buyer’s first order.
3. British Heart Foundation
Based: United Kingdom
How to be involved: Donate your bag at local donation centres or charity stores
If you are wanting to donate your bags to a good cause, then the British Heart Foundation is a good choice. The organisation helps those living with life changing heart conditions and supports research to find lifesaving treatments. Only good quality clothing and bags can be donated to local charity shops.
The organisation has local charity shops around the country that help to fund its activities. Shopping at thrift stores for new clothes or bags is also a good option for eliminating the carbon footprint associated with making a new product.
4. Facebook Groups
How to be involved: Join a group on the Facebook platform
While these can be dependent on where you live, most locations around the UK have some sort of Facebook group where preloved bags, old clothes and other such items can be given away or sold.
These groups offer convenient ways to extend the life of a quality product. If you’re wondering where you can recycle your handbag through a UK Facebook group, the best place to start is simply searching the platform.
5. Recycling Cash4Clothes Service
Based: United Kingdom
How to be involved: organise a collection slot or drop your bags off at collection points
The Cash4Clothes service from Smart Recycling pays 30p-50p per kilo of unwanted clothing and accessories that are entered into the scheme.
Unwanted items are either recycled or given to those in need. Both drop off and collection services are available when donating bags of clothes and accessories. Some big name brands offer a similar scheme where branded items can be returned for a store voucher.
6. Sell on eBay
How to be involved: List item on the eBay platform
One of the best known platforms for selling second-hand goods, eBay is a good way to stop your old handbags from littering landfill and make some money at the same time. Wearable clothing and handbags on eBay sell for a wide range of prices, with more luxury brands able to fetch a higher price on the platform.
The sheer reach of the eBay platform can make it an effective selling space for both preloved and new items. As an added bonus your preloved handbag gets a second life with a new owner.
7. Your local council
How to be involved: Check your local council website to find your nearest recycling bank.
If all else fails, it goes without saying that some bags and other unwanted textiles can be recycled through local textile banks, clothes banks, or a textile recycling bin. This is dependent on local council regulations. These can often be found in local car parks.
Donating or Selling
Whether you are selling your preloved handbag, opting to donate through UK charity shops or other platforms, or recycling it through textiles banks, there are great options out there for prolonging the life of your handbag. These options help to reduce the tonnes of clothing and bags sent to landfill.
So, declutter your wardrobe without it having to cost the Earth and engage with one of the best solutions for your preloved products.
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