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Your clutter can save lives and help the environment

Reusing goods will ensure goodwill for charities and the environment this Christmas

The Environment Agency and Oxfam are urging the UK public to give twice this festive season by ensuring their unwanted clothes, books and household items are reused by charity shops – while also relieving pressure on the environment.

Research undertaken by Oxfam and Marks and Spencer earlier this year showed that there are unworn clothes worth more than £4.7 billion gathering dust in the nation's cupboards. While the Environment Agency estimates that more than 1million tonnes of clothes and other textiles are sent to landfill every year – contributing to the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change.

Environment Agency Head of Waste, Liz Parkes, said: “We need to reduce, reuse and recycle before we ever consider throwing things away. It's crazy that quality clothes, books and household items – that are being replaced by Christmas presents – end up in landfills rather than being reused through charity shops.

“We have tough but important targets to divert biodegradable materials from landfill in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, by keeping our precious materials in productive use for as long as possible, we need to extract fewer raw materials from the environment.

“We all know the importance of buying products such as plastic bottles and cans that are made from recycled materials – but you can also reduce your environmental footprint by buying reusable items like clothes and books from charity shops.”

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