Conwy residents made the most of recycling collections in the last year to make sure their lockdown clear outs had a positive effect.
Between June 2020 and March this year, Conwy residents saved more than 100 tonnes of clothing from landfill and incineration by using the Council’s home recycling collections. It’s an increase of 21 tonnes on the previous year, the equivalent of 42,000 pairs of jeans.
Local charity Crest Cooperative has been working with Conwy County Borough Council for 20 years to improve recycling rates and give unwanted items a new home. Residents can recycle clothing every fortnight in purple bags as part of the Council’s kerbside recycling collections. On average, the charity is able to reuse 93% and recycle 7%, with nothing going to landfill.
“We know plenty of people took the opportunity to have a big clear out over the last year, and used the collection service to pass on the items they didn’t need anymore,” says Cllr Greg Robbins, Conwy County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Transportation. “It takes a lot of energy and water to produce clothing – making one pair of jeans uses about 10,000 litres of water. By reusing, we’re protecting the planet’s resources and helping future generations.”
The benefits are not just environmental, as Rod Williams, Managing Director at Crest, explains: “We donate clothing to homeless charities and sell items in our shops in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction, keeping costs down for families on small budgets and helping those most in need.”
He adds, “Donating your pre-loved clothes also helps provide local employment, volunteering opportunities and work experience.”
Mavis Eastwood had been a carer for several years when she decided to volunteer with Crest last year, disinfecting donations through lockdown and getting the Llandudno Junction store ready to reopen. After help from Crest with CV writing and job interview practice, Mavis successfully got a job as a cleaner at the social enterprise.
“Crest is a place of second chances,” says Mavis. “I didn’t think at my age I’d get another job. I didn’t think I’d ever have a social life again. Crest just helps people; it’s certainly helped me, mentally and physically. Being part of this team means that I’m being of use and then in turn it helps our community, by allowing people buy things they normally couldn’t afford.”