This information is for volunteers collecting textile pledges as part of the council’s Circular Economy Champions scheme.

We're hoping to make Brighton & Hove a city that chooses to repair, recycle and reuse. All sorts of things would otherwise go to the landfill or be incinerated.

This information pack helps you pass on tips and information to family and friends. This can help keep things in circulation longer.


    The Circular Economy Champions scheme

    Hundreds of volunteers are collecting 20 pledges to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle. These pledges are from friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

    This scheme can have a real impact on waste reduction in the city.

    Funding comes from a European project called BLUEPRINT to a Circular Economy.

    Extra support comes from local reuse and repair shops, these include:

    How the pledges will help our economy

    We have a linear economy. This means raw materials are made into products that consumers use until they discard them as waste. 

    Pledges are new actions someone commits to, that support the development of a circular economy. This involves recycling, repairing, returning and reusing products for as long as possible.

    These pledges can:

    • save residents money
    • save the council money to invest in other services
    • support Circular Economy businesses that offer reuse and repair services in Brighton & Hove

    You can:

    What we'll do

    We will:

    • record pledges and analyse the behaviour changes that happen because of the scheme
    • encourage Champions to visit their pledges again in the future

    This will help us find out if the pledges are having a positive impact on the numbers of people implementing the changes.

    The linear, recycling and circular economy

    Demonstrating the linear, recycling and circular economy

    Image source: The R Collective

    In the linear economy, household waste is converted into a reusable material at the ‘get rid’ stage. While this means the waste doesn't end up in landfill or energy recovery straight away, energy and materials are still needed to recycle.

    For most materials there's a limited number of times that material can be recycled before it needs to be thrown away. 

    In a circular economy, rather than waiting until the ‘get rid’ stage, extending the products' life is possible at the creation stage. This prevents waste and pollution.

    A circular economy:

    • reduces the materials used
    • makes the production less resource intensive
    • recaptures waste as a resource to manufacture new products without the use of virgin materials at the end of the products' life

    Transition to a circular textile economy

    In the linear economy for textiles more than 97% of the materials used to make clothes and other textile products are taken from the natural world. More than 73% of all these clothes and other products are sent to landfill or incinerated after use. 

    This means that almost every time we make a new cotton and polyester t-shirt, we must:

    • grow cotton - which takes land, labour and water resources
    • extract petroleum from the ground - which takes energy and labour
    • process the cotton and petroleum to make cotton and polyester threads
    • weave and sew a t-shirt

    That t-shirt is then used and thrown away, so all the cotton, polyester, time, water, labour and energy used to make it is also thrown away, either in landfill or in an incinerator. 

    But in a circular economy, we take the used t-shirt, repair it and re-use it as many times as possible. Then re-cycle it so we can make new textiles from it.

    If we don’t throw materials away, we don’t need to take new materials from the natural world to make new clothes or textiles.

    The best thing we can do to make sure nothing is wasted is to only use natural materials. They can biodegrade when we can't use them or recycle them anymore.

    The best ways to reduce waste

    Image illustrating the waste hierarchy, from most favoured to least favoured options. In the following order reduce, reuse, repair, recycle, recover, dispose.

    Image source: The waste hierarchy London School of Economics and Political Science

    As part of this toolkit, you’ll receive a form for collecting and monitoring pledges.

    When you collect pledges, encourage people to prioritise the most preferred options like reduce and reuse. 

    On the textiles pledge form, we’ve given examples of actions residents could take. We've listed actions with the greatest impact first. For example - repair damaged clothes to avoid buying new ones. 

    Actions lower down have less impact like - stop throwing old shoes and clothes in the bin, and instead donate or recycle them.

    Textiles pledge examples and forms

    Some suggestions for pledge examples are:

    1. I'll unsubscribe from marketing campaigns that send me clothing adverts.
    2. I'll reduce my new shoe and clothing purchases by X% this year compared to last year.
    3. I'll wash my clothes less and wash on gentler cycles at 30 degrees. This will help my clothes last longer and reduce micro-fibre release.
    4. I'll always let my clothes air-dry if possible. Tumble dryers cost more to run and make clothes shrink, wear and fade fast.
    5. Next time I buy new clothes, I'll spend more than I usually would on a garment so I know it will last longer.
    6. Next time I buy new, I'll buy from a company with a low or negative environmental footprint.
    7. I'll boost my mending skills by going to a drop-in session or do a sewing course.
    8. I'll have my clothes mended.
    9. I'll host a clothes swap with friends. Find out how to organise a clothes swap.
    10. I'll buy pre-loved clothes first from one of the many charity shops or vintage boutiques in the city, or from a fashion exchange app.
    11. I'll sell my unused clothes.
    12. I'll clear out my wardrobe and donate unused clothes to one of our many charity shops or direct to neighbours, friends and family.
    13. I'll participate in Free Your Wardrobe!
    14. I'll donate school uniforms or start my own uniform swap scheme.
    15. I'll buy pre-loved school uniforms.
    16. I'll sign up to a clothing rental service.
    17. I'll recycle clothes that cann't be repaired at my nearest recycling point.
    18. I'll involve a friend to become a Textiles Champion.

    You can also:

    Conversation starters

    Talking to neighbours, or close friends, about their habits and behaviours can be challenging. 

    It’s good to use open questions, to avoid suggesting a right or wrong way to do things. This helps people to trust you and not feel judged.

    Try one of these questions to start a conversation.

    1. Have you had a clear out of your wardrobe this year?
    2. What's the oldest (or newest) piece of clothing you own?
    3. Have you ever been to a clothes swap?
    4. In the UK, 6 in 10 people haven’t learned to sew. I fall into this category. What about you?
    5. What have you experienced to be the greatest barrier to repair or donate clothes?
    6. I still have some kids clothes that I can’t bear to throw away which I know is pretty crazy. Did you know there are 183 million items of outgrown baby clothes stored in UK cupboards alone?

    Interesting facts

    Did you know that polyester is a type of plastic? If you want to go plastic free choose cotton, wool or linen items.

    When you collect pledges, use some of these interesting facts to help people make good choices around textile consumption, reuse, repair and recycling.


    Sewing is a dying skill because:

    • almost 6 in 10 people admitted that they are unable to sew much or at all
    • 1 in 4 people in Briton can't sew on a button
    • 1 in 5 people in Britons said if they lost a button, they'd buy a new item of clothing instead of fixing it

    Overproduction and fast fashion

    The global production of garments stands at 100 to 120 billion each year, with only 7 billion people on our planet.

    Some shops are known for producing more clothing than they will sell, and/or selling low quality items that don’t last. Clean Clothes Campaign and Greenpeace can help you stay up-to-date about which shops over produce

    It’s estimated that more than two tonnes of clothing are bought each minute in the UK. This is more than any other country in Europe.

    Textile waste

    On average Europeans each consume 26 kilos and discard 11 kilos of textiles every year.

    Although people could repair or donate a lot of used clothes, 87% get incinerated or sent to landfill.

    The financial cost

    In 2016 in the UK we spent about £3 billion to replace clothes that we could have mended.

    In UK homes, about a third of garments are unworn. This amounts to over £1000 per household and £30 billion in total.

    Globally, less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new garments. This wastes over £70 billion worth of materials each year.

    The environmental cost

    It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one t-shirt. This is enough drinking water for 1 person for 2.5 years.

    Producing one new shirt creates the same carbon footprint as a 35 mile car journey.

    Textile production causes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

    Dyeing and finishing textiles is responsible for about 20% of global clean water pollution.

    Cotton growing uses 18% of pesticides and 25% of insecticides used worldwide.

    Washing clothes with synthetic materials like nylon and polyester accounts for 35% of primary microplastics released into the environment. It releases about 0.5 million tonnes of microfibers into oceans each year.

    Polyester textiles take more than 200 years to decompose.

    Type of impact 2015 2050
    Resource consumption 98 million tonnes 300 million tonnes
    Textile industry's share of carbon budget 2% 26%
    Microfibres in the oceans   22 million tonnes added after 2015

    How to keep safe

    However you choose to collect pledges, it's important to think about Health and Safety.

    The table below shows some common considerations for any activity. This list is not exhaustive, and if you have any questions, send an email to


    Control measures

    Threat of verbal abuse or physical assault

    • carry a charged mobile phone
    • be aware of your surroundings
    • do not confront or respond to members of the public
    • if the situation escalates contact the police

    Slips, trips and falls

    • wear sensible, weather appropriate clothing
    • be observant and cautious
    • take special care in leafy or wet weather

    Pre-existing medical conditions

    • volunteers are responsible for carrying and administering any medication Emergency services should be contacted for any medical emergencies

    Lone working

    • alert someone where you will be and when you will return
    • carry a charged mobile phone

    Safe lifting

    • think before lifting and remove obstructions
    • keep the load as close to the body as possible
    • keep the heaviest side of the load closest to the body
    • avoid twisting your back or leaning sideways