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Shetland Islanders have recycled a phenomenal 30 tonnes of clothes, shoes and textiles over the last 11 months following the addition of 21 new Salvation Army clothing banks across the islands last August.  Undertaken as a partnership between Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCoL) and the Shetland Islands Council, the new clothing banks have been added to the nine pre-exiting SATCoL clothing banks situated on private sites across the islands, and are proving very popular. 

Today, clothing banks can be found in council locations spanning from Sumburgh on the main island, to Midyell on Yell. These incorporate seven clothing banks across Disability Scotland sites, including one in Baltasound on Unst, the most northerly point in the UK, and one at the Shetland Islands Council Recycling Centre in Lerwick.

So popular are the banks that in the last five weeks alone a shipping container capable of holding five tonnes has almost been filled and is nearly ready to be shipped to the mainland.

Commenting on the success of the banks Tom Richardson, area representative at SATCoL, said: “It’s great to see such enthusiasm from the islanders and from the team who’ve been collecting clothing from across the Shetland Islands. We believe the people of Shetland could well be the one of the UK’s most generous communities for clothing donations per head; 30 tonnes from a population of a little over 22,000 in less than 10 months is very impressive indeed.”

He added: “For every tonne of textiles that we are able to reuse or recycle we prevent seven tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions, and we significantly reduce the amount of unnecessary waste sent to landfill on the islands.  Moreover, through the donation of unwanted items we are also able to raise valuable funds for the work of The Salvation Army, and for Disability Shetland, who we’ve worked with for the past eight years.”

Willam Spence, Executive Manager of Environmental Services at Shetland Islands Council, said: “The banks provide a quick and easy way to recycle unwanted textiles for re-use and they are clearly proving exceptionally popular. They help keep textiles, shoes and clothing away from landfill and incineration, which is incredibly important to the people of the islands and for our ecosystem.”

Over the last five years alone, SATCoL’s re-use and recycling initiatives (which include over 200 charity shops, 6500 clothing banks and a door-to-door collection service) raised £39.5 million for The Salvation Army, contributing to its valuable social welfare work. This has helped fund homelessness and addiction services, care for older people, help at emergency incidents, support for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales, a Family Tracing Service and much, much more.

Money raised has also helped the invaluable work of The Salvation Army community centre on the Shetland Islands, whose outreach comprises a variety of support for islanders, including the provision of food parcels via a network of food banks.