The Salvation Army’s collection activities via its ReShare division are characterised by effective logistics and a high degree of efficiency. This enables us to offer our products at competitive rates and guarantee that donated clothing and textiles are processed correctly. Our modern and well-equipped fleet of collection vehicles – a share of which are hybrid – ensure that we can collect and transport thousands of tonnes of clothing in a way that is both efficient and environmentally friendly. Once the clothing has arrived at one of our sorting centres, it is separated into recyclable clothing and waste textiles. What’s more, for each donated bag of textiles, we determine the quality and re-use value of its contents on the basis of various quality categories. After sorting – a process that is mainly handled by colleagues from social enterprises and practical training centres – usable items of clothing are distributed to The Salvation Army’s charity shops, to its projects all over the world, or to one of our clients: our partners in the textiles processing industry.
Every year, people throw away some 135 million kg of usable textiles with their household garbage. For The Salvation Army’s ReShare division, this forms a major motivation for expanding its operational brief to include extra ambitions. For example, over the years we have developed the knowledge and facilities to raise our collection volumes. As a strong brand and household name, The Salvation Army has a significant edge on other textile collectors. People like to donate their used clothing to charity, which is precisely what The Salvation Army is known for being – for over 125 years. In addition, we see more and more companies donating their unused surplus clothing to charity. Donations to The Salvation Army are recognised as gifts to charity by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. Companies can rest assured that their contribution will benefit the numerous charitable causes supported by our organisation.
At The Salvation Army, we attach great importance to sustainability. That is why we are all on the constant look-out for new opportunities to improve our collection and processing chain. We have already taken the first steps in this area in our recycling activities. We are gradually expanding this operation on the basis of new knowledge, methods and techniques, so that in the near future we will be able to process all collected textiles into new products. And this is good news for the environment, because the more textiles we can recycle, the smaller the volume that is incinerated as household waste.
In 2013, two ‘armies’ joined forces. The Dutch Ministry of Defence and The Salvation Army entered into an agreement: from that point on, all redundant uniforms distributed by the Ministry’s KPU (Clothing and Personal Equipment) Unit in Soesterberg would be donated to The Salvation Army. To this end, personnel can deposit used clothing and shoes in one of the containers installed for this purpose. All items that are unsuitable for re-use are recycled via The Salvation Army. At present, we collect, sort and process some 600,000 kg of clothing via this programme. Old uniforms and utility clothing are shredded, after which the textile is felted or recycled. This means that the redundant uniforms and utility clothing can no longer be mistaken – or resold – as military apparel..
Other items that are not immediately recognisable as military clothing are sorted by The Salvation Army and distributed among its clients. Any remaining articles are sold around the world or recycled. The sorting and processing of this clothing creates new employment opportunities for people with a disadvantaged position in the regular job market. In terms of sustainability, this project can be said to serve a dual purpose, offering a unique combination of care for both people and planet. The proceeds of this programme are spent on various social projects undertaken by The Salvation Army.
ReShare wants to motivate manufacturers, importers and retailers to deal with stocklots/deadstock/overstock in a responsible and valuable way. We strive for a close cooperation in which the mutual benefits are maximized. What do we do with the clothes? ReShare prossesses yearly about 26 million kilograms of clothing. We give it away for free to those in need, sell it against social prices in our (second-hand) clothes stores and it goes to sorting companies whom pay a fair price. With this money we support the aid work of the Salvation Army. The benefits for you: get rid of your clothing-/textile-/shoe surplus, enjoy tax benefits, cooperation with ReShare is Corporate Social Responsibility.
Out of the 26 million kilograms of clothing and shoes, the products unused for relief or retail are for sale in the Netherlands and abroad for a fair price. With this money the Salvation Army's welfare work is supported. Within sales we have four categories; original untouched container clothing collected in bins, remaining clothes from Salvation Army Corps, second choice clothing, and paired/single shoes. These categories are separately packed in bigbags with an average of 125 kilograms per bag. Besides the four categories, ReShare aims at taking out the unwearable clothing out of the second choice clothing for further recycling.