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A fashionable alternative to a jumble-sale is aiming to entice people to swap their old clothes instead of throwing them away.

Durham County Council, working in partnership with Durham University, will host a clothes swap event in Durham City next month.

Known as ‘swishing’, the scheme encourages people to donate their clothes or textiles otherwise destined for a life at the back of a wardrobe or the bin in exchange for receiving other people’s clothing in a similar condition.

From the 1.4 million tonnes of clothing and textiles thrown away every year in the UK, 30 per cent have never been worn, which contributes to an unused clothing bill of £30 million.

Discarding clothes and textiles also affects the environment, with the total carbon footprint of clothing in the UK last year standing at 26.2 million tonnes of CO2.

Members of the public, residents and students are invited to bring clothes and textiles in clean and good condition to St Nicholas’ Church in Durham City Market Place, between 1.30pm and 2pm on Wednesday, 8 November. This is for donation drop-offs only.

The swishing event then takes place between 3pm and 5.30pm and people can return and browse other people’s items and take the same amount of donated items away with them.

The event is free to attend and refreshments will be provided. Small charitable donations are welcome, though not compulsory.

Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing will be accepted, as well as textiles and accessories. However, underwear, swimwear, earrings and socks will not be accepted for hygiene reasons.

Any items leftover after the event closes, will be donated to a pre-chosen charity.

Victoria Burrell, waste strategy team manager at Durham County Council, said: “Swishing is the perfect platform to swap unworn or unwanted clothes, accessories, shoes or textiles to prevent them from being thrown away.

“It’s a great way to get friends and colleagues together to take part in guilt-free, inexpensive ‘shopping’, and most importantly it reduces our clothing carbon foot-print by reusing, re-wearing and re-loving items.”

Paul Riddlesden, Interim Energy and Sustainability Manager at Durham University, added: “We’re working with Durham County Council to promote the benefits of clothing reuse and reduce the amount of clothing discarded in household waste.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students and the wider community to attend a swishing event. People can select nearly new clothes in exchange for donating their unwanted items.”

County Durham residents are reminded that clothes, shoes, bags, belts, textiles and bedding should not be put into household recycling bins.

All items are accepted at household waste recycling centres – see www.durham.gov.uk/hwrc for locations and opening times or call 03000 261 000 during office hours.

Alternatively, clothing and textiles can be donated to local charities and clothing banks.

For a list of handy tips to reduce, reuse, revive or recycle clothing and textiles visit www.durham.gov.uk/clothesrecycling

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