MP’s visit to Oxfam sorting site

Impact: Mary Creagh MP called for more action from fashion retailers on sustainability during the visit.
Impact: Mary Creagh MP called for more action from fashion retailers on sustainability during the visit.

Wastesaver, Oxfam’s textile recycling and sorting centre in Batley, recently played host to a special visitor – Wakefield MP Mary Creagh.

In her role as chair of Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee Mary has been looking at ways to mitigate the environmental and social impact of fast fashion.

Oxfam is one of the only major charity retailers to operate its own textile sorting facility which sorts 12,000 tonnes of donated clothes, shoes and accessories a year in this area.

It is staffed by workers paid the living wage, and raises around half a million pounds a year for Oxfam’s work to fight poverty around the world.

Mary Creagh MP said: “I was shocked by how some major retailers are shirking their responsibilities, and simply not doing enough to address how they are affecting their workers and the environment.

“I wanted to visit Oxfam’s Wastesaver facility in Batley to see how Yorkshire is leading the way in tackling this issue.

“Initiatives like Oxfam’s Wastesaver in Batley can provide real inspiration and concrete solutions for major retailers; fashion brands need to take action to reduce the environmental harm done by the clothes they sell.”

Lorraine Needham Reid, Oxfam’s Wastesaver manager, explained how the site works.

She said: “At Oxfam we aim to raise as much money as possible from the clothing which is donated to us and minimise waste at the same time.

“At Wastesaver we sort unsold clothing into around 55 different grades depending on garment type, condition, style and fabric. All this raises money for our work with some of the poorest communities in the world. And nothing goes to landfill – what cannot be recycled goes to an energy plant to power homes in Yorkshire.”