Sustainability is one of our charity’s core ambitions and we are constantly working towards improving our practices in this area.
Find out below what we’re currently doing and areas we’re working on.

Sustainability Sustainable September Blue Background

Sustainability in our shops

Sustainability is one of our charity’s core ambitions and we are constantly working towards improving our practices in this area.

The industry of charity retail is inherently sustainable as we are one of the vital cogs in a circular economy, providing the opportunity for people to both purchase and donate clothes, homewares and furniture.

Every year we sell over 1 million items, offering each a chance at a second life and diverting from landfill. We recognise that this isn’t enough and wholeheartedly accept our responsibility to continue to trade and grow our retail sector, reducing our reliance on plastic and committing to a more sustainable future for our company and our planet.

Graham Clarke Warehouse Donations
Recycle Clothing Box

What do we do with the donations we can’t sell?

Clothes, accessories, textiles and non metal bric-a-brac

Unsold textiles are reduced to a minimum in their host shop, and then sent to our Bargain Outlets where they are sold for our lowest prices.

Clothes that are still unsold, and clothes that arrive with us in an unsellable state are then bought and collected by East London Textiles – who are registered with TRUST*, The Charity Retail Association, the Textile Recycling Association, Hospice UK, and the Fundraising Regulator.

*TRUST – Trader Recycling Universal Standard is a non-profit making, accreditation standard for recyclers who trade with charity shops, local authorities, waste management companies and others. TRUST accredited recyclers are fully audited to ensure they are following best practice and regulatory guidelines, including rigorous standards for sustainability.

What do we do with the items we cannot sell?

Metal items

Metal recycling is handled by Henry Orchard & Sons Ltd – a local Cornish company, so transportation miles are naturally low.  Henry Orchard are registered with the British Metals Recycling Association and have made a public commitment to dealing with every scrap item that goes through their yard in the most sustainable way possible.


Books we’re unable to sell are recycled by World of Books (Also TRUST registered).


We endeavour to only accept furniture that is suitable for sale, but should we end up with furniture at the end of its life, we take it to our local Household Waste and Recycling Centres.

Cornish Christmas Cards 2023 Back of Card

Our new goods

We sell a small selection of brand new items in our shops, including our popular Christmas cards.

We work closely with the team at Elle Media Group to produce our Christmas cards which all are printed on FSC® Certified board and carry the FSC® logo.

Their printed materials are also produced using vegetable-based inks, and completely alcohol free. They use no nasty chemicals in making the printing plates and they use environmentally friendly water-based coatings. Their waste is responsibly recycled from waste paper to plates and ink tins.

Our card wrappers are made from recyclable Polypropylene and our cards, envelopes and back slip are all recyclable (please check locally).

What is Sustainable September?

Sustainable September is a campaign to get the people of Cornwall thinking about their purchases and how they shop.  

We want to turn the tide on fast fashion!

And it’s not just about promoting the environmental benefits of shopping second hand! We will explore repairing, restyling and repurposing fashion and furniture with handy tips and videos being shared across our social media channels. Be sure to follow our shops channels on Instagram and Facebook @chcshops.

Sustainable September
Sustainability Reduce Reuse Recycle triangle

How can you be more sustainable?

The number one priority for living more sustainably is to reduce your consumption of brand new items. You can do this by thinking carefully about every purchase and considering if you really need it, and by buying second hand where ever you can.

Develop skills and habits that allow you to care for items you already own, and prolong their life as long as possible. Doing this doesn’t have to be arduous or expensive, it can be as simple and easy as wearing an apron when you cook, or following the care labels on your clothes when you wash them. We will be sharing lots of content to teach you how to prolong the life of your clothes and furniture this month on our Instagram and Facebook stories, so be sure to follow @CHCShops and keep your eyes peeled. We also recommend you head to this great resource from Hubbub to learn more about caring for and repairing your clothes. While you’re there take a look at all their actions and tips for a more sustainable life and home.

Why not take part in Keep Britain Tidy’s Buy Nothing New Month campaign in January ? Buy nothing new for a whole month and see how it changes your habits and feelings about shopping. Find out more here.

The Recreate Challenge

This part of our Sustainable Campaign gives you the chance to be creative!

Each of our shops will have a small amount of materials, (both textile and paper) available for you to collect and then recreate in to something useful, beautiful or fun!

These materials are either unsold or unsellable, but still have so much potential for reuse. They are free of charge, all we ask is that you share your creations with us by tagging us on Facebook and Instagram @chcshops. (If you’re not a social media user, you can email photos and video to Don’t forget to share this challenge with all your friends, family and followers.

The materials are available at all our shops, but are very limited so get there first. Please respect the quantity available, and don’t take more than you can use.

For inspiration on what to recreate with your materials, please head to our Pinterest board here.

Click here to find out more about our Recreate Challenge, get some inspiration and see what others have created!

Recreate Challenge
Sustainability Facts

Sustainability facts

Our shops are displaying the following facts around fashion and furniture;

The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions.

Clothing production has doubled since the year 2000.

Three out of five of the 100bn new garments will end up in landfill within a year.

Textile dyeing is the second largest water polluter in the world.

*United Nations Environment Assembly

It takes 2,700 litres of water to produce a single cotton T-shirt.

*World Wildlife Organisation

Textile production contributes more to climate change than international aviation & shipping combined.

*House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (UK), 2019

Repairing and remaking furniture could save about 6 million tonnes of CO e in the EU.


The environmental benefits of reusing 1 tonne of sofas are the same as recycling 1 tonne of plastics.


Fewer than one in ten people attempt to repair or restore broken items.

*North London Waste Authority (NLWA) (2018)

Across the UK, nearly 22 million small items of furniture are thrown away each year.

*North London Waste Authority (NLWA) (2018)

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