Liverpool laundrette in a spin to reduce, reuse and recycle wasted clothes

It’s so far sew good for a Liverpool laundrette looking to cut the amount of clothes and textiles going to waste across the city.

The ‘Textiles RRR’ project has been conceived by Kitty’s Laundrette, the community launderette and social space in Everton, which has received £8000 from the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority Community Fund 2022/23 to help raise awareness of and reduce clothes and textiles waste.

As part of TextilesRRR, Kitty’s Laundrette will be hosting community clothes-swapping events, textiles mending and craft workshops, and textiles repurposing training, as well as setting up an unwanted-textiles redistribution network. In all, there will be 52 activities for local people to learn new skills which will help them to rescue and repair old textiles.

Kitty’s Laundrette Project Lead Anthony Scott said, “With this project we want to address all aspects of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling textiles and feel that our space of a community launderette is a great place to be having those conversations and running activities.

“We’ve got all sorts of events to help us engage and encourage people to think about the environmental impact of clothing and textile waste. We’re hosting clothes swap events, sewing and clothes mending workshops, and introducing a permanent unwanted-clothes drop off point at the launderette. We’re holding natural dying workshops to enable participants to give their old clothes a new life. And last but not least we’re putting on craft workshops for reused and recycled materials, which are primarily for children and families.”

According to a recent analysis*, around 5% of household bins on Merseyside contained textiles such as clothes and shoes. By the end of the project in March 2023, Kitty’s Laundrette hope they will have saved around three tonnes of textiles from going to waste.

Inspired by Kitty Wilkinson, the founder of the wash house movement in the 1800’s and who opened the UK’s first launderette on Upper Frederick Street in Liverpool, today Kitty’s Laundrette serves the community by offering washing services, running events and being a welcoming space for people whilst their clothes spin in a sustainable wash.

Grace Harrison, the Development Coordinator at Kitty’s, said: “At the heart of our project is education – helping raise the skills and confidence of our local community to think about environmental concerns. We know that information about climate change and the need to change waste behaviours can be daunting for people to know where to start.

“Our approach will support people through small steps, making things easy and accessible to everyone and sharing positive stories of how this works.”

Councillor Tony Concepcion, Chairperson of Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority, said: “Every year thousands of tonnes of used clothing goes to waste when there is no need for any clothing or textiles to end up in a bin. Projects like this one address this issue, keeping materials in the circular economy, and helping inspire and influence people to make small conscious changes to reduce the impact of clothes on the environment. We wish Kitty’s Laundrette and all the partners involved the best of luck!”

If you are interested in attending one of the training sessions or swap events, please get in touch with Kitty’s Laundrette via:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kittyslaunderette/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kittyslaundry/ 

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kittyslaundry/

Main image: Grace Harrison, the Development Coordinator at Kitty’s

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