With the country emerging from lockdown, we are all anticipating the ‘new normal’. Will it be much as before, or will we have a better awareness of the fragility of the environment and a desire to do things differently? I hope it’s the latter and that as part of the ‘new normal’ we think about what and how we shop. Our fund-raising charity shop is set to open as soon as it is appropriate to do so, with all the safety measures in place. We desperately need our customers to come back to us and begin to raise much needed funds to support our work – it’ll be great to be open again soon!
We like to think we’ve always had a sound aware-ness of environmental issues. What customers see when they visit our shop are helpful, cat-loving volunteers, but underneath they are full-on eco warriors…who knew? Our volunteers work day in, day out to tackle the climate emergency, one bag of donated clothes at a time. By sorting, selecting, steaming and selling donated goods they are contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions, reducing landfill and much more besides. A recent Demos report (2015/16) estimates that charity shops divert 331,000 tonnes of textiles from landfill each year through reuse or recycling. In turn, Demos concluded that this saved UK councils £27m a year – not bad eh? Greta Thunberg – we’re right there with you!
Our volunteers are proud of our contribution to these figures. At Swansea Cats Protection we pass on our unsaleable donations to organisations such as TerraCycle, who aim to recycle previously unrecyclable items. On a smaller scale a number of our volunteers help to reuse donated materials. For example, Angela uses odd balls of wool to crochet beautiful blankets to sell, or to keep our rescue cats cosy. She also gathers up donated bras (we can only sell brand new bras) and sends them to a charity working with women in Africa. Angela – you’re a star!
There are approximately 11,000 charity shops in the UK, and Swansea Cats Protection is fortunate to have two wonderful shops generating income to support our work. The ever-popular Brynymor Road shop opened its doors over 12 years ago, with a number of the original volunteers still putting in the hours…that’s incredible isn’t it? And what’s more incredible is that it is entirely run by volunteers, which means more money to fund our work helping the cats and kittens of Swansea. It was opened with only a shoe-string budget and the philosophy of ‘reuse, repair, recycle’ was firmly in place from day one.
We could add to that philosophy another ‘r’ – re-thinking. Charity shops like ours can help people ‘re-think’ the way they shop, the way they consume, the way they dress, the way they dispose of unwanted stuff. It’s not just that Swansea Cats Protection rescues cats and kittens who benefit from people shopping and donating to our charity shop, but the planet benefits too. If we ‘re-think’ the way we shop – buy fewer new goods, buy more pre-loved things, donate rather than dump unwanted stuff – we can perhaps all call ourselves eco-warriors! The over-consumption of fashion is creating a vast waste problem for our planet and although some efforts are being made to address this, the fashion industry still largely operates on a ‘make, use, dispose’ linear model. According to TRAID (a charity which tackles the negative social and environmental impacts of producing, consuming and wasting clothes) we buy more new clothes per person in the UK than any other country in Europe; five times more than we bought in the 1980s. Demos estimates that UK citizens consume 26.7kg of new clothes per capita, compared to 16.7kg in Germany, 14.5kg in Italy and 12.6kg in Sweden. And of course, in turn, we discard more than a million tonnes of textiles each year.
The good news though is that some of this comes to charity shops like ours in Brynymor Road and helps keep our eco-warrior volunteers busy.
Once we are open again we will be delighted to accept your donations – do it for the rescue cats and kittens, do it for the planet and do it to keep our wonderful eco-warrior volunteers busy!
10 environmental benefits of charity retail
- Reduces landfill
- Reduces CO2
- Encourages recycling
- Slows down fast fashion
- Encourages upcycling
- Keeps it local!
- Reduces bulky waste collections
- Saves landfill tax
- YOU are helping the environment
Unfortunately, we’re not open yet to accept your donations and we will have a few new safety measures in place to ensure social distancing, so please check our Facebook page and/or our shop window for further information.
Our address is: 85 Brynymor Road Swansea SA1
Help us save cats, kittens and the planet, one bag of donations at a time 😸
- Sonya says thanks to the NHS and all key workers!
- Cindy is hoping for a new home once we start our ‘hands free’ homing system.
- Handsome Shirley is such a loving cat (yes, he’s a boy!)
- Albert can’t wait for lockdown to end so he can be re-homed.
If you are interested in adopting one of our lovely cats or kittens, please call our helpline or go to our Facebook page or website to read about our forthcoming new ‘hands free’ homing system, which will operate in line with Welsh Government advice on safety and social distancing.
We can be contacted via our Helpline 0345 260 2101 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note our Helpline is answered by a messaging service and we will respond as soon as we can – but please be patient and remember that we are ALL UNPAID VOLUNTEERS trying to do our best for the rescue cats and kittens of Swansea. Thanks.