A new accreditation standard for recyclers who trade with charity shops launches today (9 September).
TRUST – Trader Recycling Universal Standard – is the outcome of a coalition dedicated to boost standards within the recycling sector.
TRUST has the backing of more than 2,500 charity shops across the United Kingdom, and represents the Charity Retail Association, Textile Recycling Association, charity retail chains, academics, waste reduction charities, textile recyclers, with input from the Environment Agency, the WISH (Waste Industry Safety and Health) Forum and CIWM.
British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, Salvation Army, Sue Ryder and Royal Trinity Hospice have all indicated that in due course they will only deal with TRUST- accredited organisations when trading donated items that cannot be sold on the shop floor.
There are many recyclers out there whose business practices are exemplary, but sadly there are also a few who fall short of the standards we would expect
It is anticipated most charity shops will follow suit. At that point, accredited merchants will be the only companies gaining stock from the charity retail sector, which collects around 330,000 tonnes of textiles every year. This will incentivise all companies in this space to adopt this approach.
Local authorities, waste management companies, and other retailers will be encouraged to use TRUST accreditation for their own sectors. In addition, the Charity Retail Association will in future only accept recyclers who are TRUST accredited as corporate members.
TRUST accreditation lasts two years from inspection. Applicants must pass a comprehensive series of tests across five categories. Whistle-blowing procedures are in place should any accredited business fall below standard. The fees recyclers pay to acquire this status will administer the scheme, which is non-profit making.
Falling short of standards
Charity Retail Association Chief Executive, Robin Osterley, said: “There are many recyclers out there whose business practices are exemplary, but sadly there are also a few who fall short of the standards we would expect.
“This initiative, supported by many of the largest charity retailers and others, will go a long way to ensuring competitive advantage for those who are doing the right thing, and provide comfort for charity retailers that they are dealing with reputable and healthy organisations.”
TRUST Chair and British Heart Foundation Sustainability Manager, David Roman, said: “Charity shops are hugely grateful for the donations we receive, which help fund our vital work.
“We want to ensure those donations are taken care of every step of the way, which is why we extend our duty of care to the recycling merchants we trade with.”
Textile Recycling Association Director, Alan Wheeler, said: “We have for many years had a transparent and robust membership application procedure that has aimed to ensure that only professional businesses that adhere to relevant waste, employment and health and safety laws are afforded membership.
“With the introduction of TRUST, our members will be able to demonstrate this outwardly through this independent audit process.”