The Salvation Army is a non-profit organisation that works around the world to collect and distribute second-hand clothing.
A professional organisation with a social and sustainable character
Over the past 125 years, The Salvation Army has developed a comprehensive logistics network, efficiently handling all aspects of its operational management in-house through its ReShare division. We are the global market leader in textiles collection, processing some 26 million kg of donated clothing per year. In the Netherlands, The Salvation Army’s ReShare division offers employment to over 300 people who have difficulty entering the regular job market. These colleagues help us in the collection and sorting of the donated clothing. Whenever we develop a new activity or initiative, we always carefully consider how it might create new employment opportunities. It is in line with our mission as an organisation not to leave people by the wayside.
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.
ReShare is part of several projects that focus on maximising re-use and recycling. For instance, ReShare is part of the Smart Fiber Sort project. Fibersort is an innovative technology that automatically sorts large volumes of garments and finished products by composition, color and structure of the fibers. Thus it transforms low-value waste into a reliable, consistent input of materials for the production of new high-value textiles. Fibersort is a critical link in the transition toward a circular supply chain, while it enables textile materials to cycle repeatedly through the supply chain in a cost-effective way.
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.