Environmental Objectives

Our Environmental Ethos

At the Cowshed, we believe in taking care of our planet and are committed to doing our part in protecting the environment. We understand that the fashion industry has a significant impact on the environment, and we want to reduce the negative effects of fast fashion. We are extremely proud of our commitment to protecting the environment and helping those in need. In 2021 we recycled over 152 tonnes of donations.

Fast Fashion in the UK

In the UK alone, we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe. The UK generates an estimated 350,000 tonnes of clothing waste every year, with the average lifespan of a garment being just 2.2 years. The production of clothing also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, with the fashion industry accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions.

Environmental Objectives

1. Sustainable Clothes Recycling

We accept donations of preloved clothing, bed linens, and other textiles, and sort through them to determine what is in good condition. These items are then laundered and given to our clients who are in need. Items that are not in excellent condition are repurposed by our community arts and crafts group, which creates tote bags for us to use when distributing referrals. This helps to minimise our use of plastic bags. Any remaining items are sold to recycling organisations to raise funds for the charity.

2. Reduction of Plastic Usage

We aim to minimise our use of plastic bags by repurposing items into tote bags, that all our referrals are provided in, as mentioned above. We also use biodegradable or compostable materials whenever possible and rehome or reuse plastic bags we receive donations in. Any plastics we cannot reuse or rehome are recycled.

3. Re-distribution of Second-Hand Items

We are proud to be a part of the Against Breast Cancer Bra Recycling Scheme. This program collects unwanted or unloved bras and raises vital funds for pioneering breast cancer research. The scheme also helps support small businesses in developing countries by providing affordable bras that are otherwise expensive to produce locally.

We are also committed to supporting other local charities and organisations as well. We stock free book libraries at Emmbrook School and in local refugee hotels and pass on any household goods we receive but cannot use to Jac in a Box Wokingham. In addition, we provide older age clothing to Dress for Dignity at The Royal Berkshire Hospital and Tena pads to WADE.

Please see below for some other ways in which we are recycling.

Clothing Bags2School, Dress for Dignity (clothes for the elderly), Care4Calais (Men’s football shirts), Little Black Dress Shop (Occasion wear).
Soft Plastics Local Supermarkets
Unsuitable Toys and Homeware Collection4Clothes
Textiles Craft at The Cowshed
Used Tights Elastic Bands
Used Bras Against Breast Cancer
Carrier Bags/Bags for Life Local foodbanks, SHARE
Tumble Dryer Sheets Ali’s Recycling for the Local Community
Books Sue Ryder, Free book libraries (Emmbrook School, Refugee hotels)
Unsuitable blankets, towels, and flannels Greyhound Rescue, Hedgehog rescue
Costume Jewellery Vintage Cash Cow, sold online or at auction
Broken items Reading Re3 recycling centre
Cardboard Recycled weekly