Figures published by the charity yesterday (May 31) show that its trading arm, the Salvation Army Trading Company Limited (SATCoL), collected 35,500 tonnes of donated clothing in 2010/11, an increase of nearly 4.5% from the tonnage collected in 2009/10.
SATCoL, which describes its Clothing Collection Scheme as the UK’s largest textile recycling operation, said that this meant it had consistently increased the tonnage of material collected year-on-year since 1999/2000, with the exception of 2005/06 where it saw a 98 tonne drop in collections.
As a result, it said it had been able to increase the amount it donates to The Salvation Army’s charitable activities. SATCoL gift-aids its profits to the charity, and between 2007 and 2010 it gift-aided £16.2 million, compared to around £5.8 million between 2004 and 2007.
SATCoL currently has over 5,000 clothing banks and more than 120 charity shops across the UK and Republic of Ireland. It also distributes around 400,000 door-to-door collection banks every week.
And, it is in the process of implementing what it describes as an “ambitious business growth strategy”, involving 500 extra banks and over 50 more charity shop openings planned for the 2011/12 financial year.
The plans come as SATCoL marks its 20th year of operations, a fact highlighted by the company’s national recycling coordinator, Paul Ozanne. He said: “The past 20 years have been incredible but as well as reflecting on our achievements we’re keen to look forward.
“We’ve witnessed many fluctuations in the textile recycling market but we see this as a positive thing as we’ve come safely through the bad times as well as the good.”
He added: “We’re in a great position to expand further and plans are firmly in place to maximise the potential of the company and the brand. We are very optimistic about the next 20 years.”
Earlier this year, SATCoL came under fire for its relationship with the commercial company responsible for running its textile recycling scheme, Kettering Textiles, and in particular Kettering’s involvement in SATCoL itself.
However, SATCoL claimed that it had always been transparent about the relationship between the two and also highlighted the financial benefits The Salvation Army received from the sale of textiles collected under its contract with the company (see letsrecycle.com story).