Britons are estimated to throw away, on average, £12.5bn worth of clothes every year, in many cases due to easily fixable stains or holes, or simply because they “feel old” after a few wears.
A survey carried out on behalf of stain remover Vanish found that Brits on average throw away eight items per year at an average value of £24 each amounting to £192 worth of clothing per person.
More than 50% of those surveyed admitted to throwing away perfectly wearable clothes instead of donating them to friends, family or charity shops.
While Vanish obviously has an agenda in encouraging people to use stain removing products, the survey reveals extent of our throw-away culture. Many people don’t even try to remove stains before binning clothesas they consider the clothes to be too cheap or because the stain looks “tricky”.
Some 32% of people admitted washing an item as normal and then throwing it away if the stain does not come out and 23% admitted they didn’t even try to remove a stain. The problem also extends to simple repairs with 27% admitting they threw items away because of a small hole that could have been repaired.
Even clothes that have no discernible faults or are brand new can be thrown out. 10% of respondents threw away cheap clothes after a few wears, while one in 20 threw away items they couldn’t be bothered to return to a retailer. Many Britons start with the right intentions with 45% bagging up items for charity, only to throw them away in the end.
To encourage people to keep hold of their clothes Vanish has launched a campaign called #LoveForLonger and to prove its point it has rescued some clothes from landfill and treated them with stain remover to prove they can be returned to a wearable state. It also has a “Stain Solver” tool on its website to help consumers understand how to treat a range of different stains on various different fabrics.
Research conducted by Ginger Communications on behalf of Vanish using a sample of 1,500 British adults in January 2018. Average Brit throws away eight items of clothing per year, worth £24 each = £192 x 65.6 million British adults = £12,595,200,000.