Homepage | (Static sitemap) | ? Help |   Links | Contact us


Handy statistics on house-to-house clothing collections and related matters

 <---  Headings     

(Click for help) HEADINGS Arrow to bottom
<To left: double-click  |  To right>: refresh  |  [To top^: drag]

Table of statistics :

Appendices :


Plus icon Minus icon
Yellow warning triangle

Please contact us if you spot any errors - or if you have figures you'd like to see added to this page.

Also see :
  1. The sections below the table - eg explanatory notes, abbreviations used, areas.
  2. Statistics on other pages - such as charities, charity shops, collection leaflets and bags, collections, prosecutions.  For a list of these, see the drop-down menus above.
    You can search for statistics on these pages by searching for "xStatistics".
  3. The Introduction to statistics page  =background, useful websites etc
  4. The List of organisations and resources page.  This includes more statistics.

Filtering the table of statistics below (optional)

You can browse the table as it is - scrolling up and down the page (as usual).

However, we've added "HTML Table Filter"   software to the table of statistics below.  This allows you to 'collapse' the table - so it only shows the items (the rows) which contain the text you've searched for (so it's a selection or 'subset' of the rows).  Instructions :

  1. Type your search text in the yellow search box at the top of the table.
    (You can use UPPER CASE or lower case or a mixture - it ignores case.)
  2. Then press the Enter key.
  3. This filters the table - 'collapsing' it.

To do another search/filtering :

Examples of what you can type in the search box (without the quotes) :

To include the headings, add the tilde character "~" to your search.  Example: "council||~"
Columns - With the table below, it's configured so it searches both columns.
Rows - At the top left of the table there's a counter, giving the number of rows shown.

Also, you can search using Regular Expressions (=regex)   with this new version (v2.4).
Do this by putting "rgx:" at the start ("rgx" followed by a colon ":").
Example: "rgx:200[3-8]"  - this finds all items with years between 2003 and 2008

CLICK ME for more information on Table Filter and filtering (opens in a new window)  

Table of statistics 

See the section immediately above - for instructions on how to "filter" the table using the yellow search text box below.

Item Statistic

Introduction and definitions

See also the Introduction to statistics page
See also the Office for National Statistics (ONS)   website =a central government agency
See also Wikipedia (3 million pages) for statistics
A "million" is 1,000,000 (= 1,000 x 1,000) =1m
A "billion" is  1,000 million (= 1,000,000,000) =1bn
A "trillion" is 1 million million (= 1,000 billion)
Weights (metric and imperial):
1 [metric] tonne =1,000 kilogram (kg)
1 kilogram =1,000 gram =2.2 pounds (lb) =35 ounces (oz)
1 gram (g) =around 1/28th of an ounce
1 pound (lb) =16 ounces =old-fashioned 'imperial'
Clothes: An average jacket or coat is around 1 kilogram.
10 cased CDs weigh 1 kilogram (=100g per CD).
(A 'standard' bag of sugar weighs 1 kilogram.)
Weighing scales [w204]
Revenue minus costs =profit (eg  charity's 'net proceeds')
Example:  £100 revenue minus £90 costs =£10 profit
Revenue =sales =turnover = takings =gross
Costs =overheads
£ £ £
household =home (=house, flat, bedsit etc)  

House-to-house collections (clothing etc)

(England & Wales, except where stated otherwise)
The figures below are as at 2012 unless it says otherwise.
See also these pages:
Respective percentages of collection leaflets, bag kits and self-adhesive labels, at 2012, England and Wales (CB, tentative figure) 50% leaflets
49% bag kits
  1% self-adhesive labels
Percentage of homes which receive collection leaflets or bags (CB) 14 million (=60% of homes)
Average number of leaflets and bags delivered to each of these homes annually at 2012 (CB) 25 leaflets/bags
Total number of leaflets and bags delivered to homes in England and Wales annually
(CB, tentative figure)
350 million leaflets/bags
=estimate 1
Total number of leaflets and bags delivered to homes in
the UK annually
(derived from figures from Clothes Aid/CRA and CB)
525 million leaflets/bags
=estimate 2
Plastic: The total weight of plastic clothing-collection bags delivered annually in the UK at 2014 (CB, estimate) 2,625 tonnes of plastic *
(polythene =PE)
(based on estimate 2 above)
Number of collection leaflets/bags delivered by one person (CB) 2½ per minute
150 per hour
1,000 per day
Percentage of clothing collection leaflets/bags delivered by staff who are in-house or self-employed (CB) over 90% ?
Amount charged by a Worcester-based company, offering to deliver charity bags (at Nov 2009)
See:  http://advertising-direct.co.uk/Charity.aspx  
£15-30 per 1,000 - depending on the quantity.
This is 1.5p to 3p per bag*`
Amount charged by www.dor2dor.com   for:
"10,000 A5 leaflets printed and delivered, no VAT", 2012
=6 pence per leaflet
Percentage of leaflets/bags referring to a specific charity/good cause which is not based in the UK (eg Azzara/Do Not Delay, 'Two Sisters') (CB) 3%
Percentage of leaflets/bags which include a request for jewellery at 2012 (CB) 6%
Percentage of leaflets/bags which mention licensing (eg the 1939 Act, local councils or NEOs) (CB) 0%
Typical number of working days (=Mon-Fri) between delivery of leaflets/bags and collection day (CB) 2-3 days
eg if deliver Tuesday, collect Thursday or Friday
Cost of collection leaflets (A5 size, each) (CB) 0.4 pence?
Cost of plain plastic bags - say 70 litres (CB) 0.7 pence?
Cost of bag kits (=clothes bag in sealed plastic envelope, both items printed) (CB) 2.5 pence?
Cost of self-adhesive labels, A5 to A6 size (CB)
Notes: The costs above are as at mid-2014; they exclude VAT and assume large orders (eg 100,000)
1 penny?
Collection leaflets are very light and compact
Average weight of a collection leaflet
Weight of 1,000 leaflets
(=equivalent to a ream (500 sheets) of A4 paper)
typically A5-sized
80gsm weight
2 gram each`
2 kilogram (4.4 lb) for 1,000
Average weight of a collection bag kit (CB)
Weight of 1,000 bag kits
10 gram (0.3 ounces) each
10 kilogram (22 lb)
Percentage of UK collection bag-kits produced abroad (CB)
See also Bonnington Plastics Ltd  
50% ?
Percentage of collection bags which are bio-degradable (CB) 25% ?
Cost (new) of a typical collection van eg Ford Transit, excluding VAT (ads, 2014) £12,000 `
Percentage of filled bags which are put out before the collection day (especially the previous evening) (CB)
(Note: This increases the risk of theft)
Donation success rate: Ratio / percentage of delivered leaflets/bags which result in donated goods (CB) 1 in 35   =3% *
(=approx 2 or 3 per street)
Average weight of donated items in a bag (CB) 3 kilogram (=6½ lb) *
=0.003 tonnes
Average number of donated items in a bag (CB) 10 approx
Number of filled bags collected per van per day (CB) 50-250 bags
Percentage of clothing collections which are done on the same day as the council collects refuse
(This causes confusion for collectors and council staff)
15% `
Percentage of filled bags missed by collectors (CB) 4% approx
1. Percentage of charitable collections where the goods go to charity shops (=the "best" type of collections) (CB) 20% approx
2. Percentage of charitable collections where the collector keeps the goods and gives a royalty payment per tonne to the partner-charity (CB) 80% approx
Under-reporting of tonnage to charities and 'shrinkage' by collectors (fraud and theft) (CB)
See for example:
Children's charity may be victim of fraud  
10% ?
The A-Z List of collectors on the CharityBags website :  
Number of clothing collection companies on the List which are/were run by Lithuanians (2000 to mid-2012) (CB) 31 companies
Number of clothing collection companies on the List which have/had their registered office in Tottenham Court Road, London W1 (2000 to mid-2012) (CB) 5 companies
Number of clothing collection companies on the List which have been dissolved =the red entries (UK, 2000 to mid-2012)
(eg Rutex Ltd, Valewall Ltd, W & W Help Ltd)
(Source: Companies House/CB)
64 companies
Number of images of collection leaflets, bags and labels on the CharityBags website (CB, 2014) 80 images

House-to-house collections (clothing etc) - Regulation (England and Wales)

See also the Regulators page
See also the Acts and Regulations (=laws) page
- especially the House to House Collections Act 1939
Number of local council licensing departments (LDs) (England only, excluding London boroughs) (DCLG, CB) 295 `
Number of activities (regimes) licensed by local council licensing departments (including charitable collections, taxis, entertainment/gambling, alcohol, sex shops, pet shops, theatres)
See also the Licensing regimes page
and the websites of the Institute of Licensing and NALEO
approx 50 activities
The House to House Collections Act 1939
(=the 1939 Act) :

1939 Act
1. Percentage of clothing collections which purport to be wholly commercial (ie they're not for a 'good cause') - so they don't need a licence under the 1939 Act (CB) 5-10%
2. Percentage of clothing collections which are 'hybrid' - ie it's unclear whether they are purporting to be for a 'good cause' or not - so they may need a licence (CB)
See the page: Does it need a licence? / 'hybrid' collections
3. Percentage of clothing collections which clearly purport to be for a 'good cause' - so they do need a licence (CB) 75%
Note: 'good cause' above is our legal interpretation of:
"any charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purpose ..." in section 11(1) of the 1939 Act (CB)
The 1939 Act - National Exemption Orders (NEOs):
See also the page on National Exemption Orders
Number of charities with a National Exemption Order (Source: Cabinet Office, 2012) 43 charities`
Number of charities with National Exemption Orders, by category (CB, 2012):
Top 6 categories (some charities are in 2 categories):
- Health / medical / disabled (eg Cancer Research UK)
- Religious organisations (eg Salvation Army)
- Children and young people (eg NSPCC)
- Overseas aid (eg Oxfam)
- Animals and/or environment (eg RSPCA, WWF)
- Sea (eg RNLI/Lifeboats)
17 (4 are cancer)
Lord Hodgson's review of the Charities Act 2006:
Proposal to abolish National Exemption Orders:
Estimates by charities of the extra cost resulting:
(Source: 'Third Sector Online' 16 July 2012)
- Estimate by British Red Cross of the extra cost
"up to £20m over the next 5 years"
- Estimate by British Heart Foundation £650,000 per year`
Percentage of collections by charities with NEOs where the charity notifies the council licensing department (CB) 75% ??
Charitable house-to-house collections:
percentage of licences issued for goods vs cash (CB):
- goods (especially clothing)
- cash
25% approx
75% approx
Percentage of websites of council licensing departments which have a public diary of current and future collection licences granted under the 1939 Act (at mid-2012) (CB, estimate)
See also the Councils' diaries of collection licences page
See also the Councils' registers of licences page
25% of councils
Percentage of websites of council licensing departments which give information/advice to the public about unlicensed collections, 2012 (CB, estimate) 10-20% of councils
Licensing: Number of appeals to the Secretary of State (Cabinet Office, Whitehall) by house-to-house collectors ?
The 1916 Act - street collections:
Percentage of councils which have introduced local regulations to license street collections (discretionary)
(Source: Home Office report, 2003)
Note: Don't confuse street collections with house-to-house collections
See also the Law on charitable street collections page
80% `
Amount lost annually by genuine charities due to misleading, bogus etc collections
Source: National Fraud Investigation Bureau (NFIB): 2011
£15 to 50 million lost`
Percentage of collections which are misleading, bogus, unlicensed, illegal (CB, estimate, 2012)`` 35% *
Percentage of collections which are fake/counterfeit (CB)
See also the article on Fake/counterfeit collections
See also the Breakthrough Breast Cancer page
5-10% *
See also the List of prosecutions of collectors page
See also Licensing: Enforcement and prosecution page
The proportion (percentage) of illegal clothing collections which are prosecuted (CB) 1 in 10,000 (=0.01%)
Number of successful prosecutions of collectors 2000 to mid-2012 (which we know about) - using the 1939 Act and the Consumer Protection Regulations (the CPRs) 21 *
Percentage of prosecutions which are based merely on the delivery of the leaflets/bags (=without intercepting the collectors on the collection day)
eg prosecutions by NW Leics District Council (CB)
Percentage success rate with prosecutions of collectors (CB) over 90%
Maximum fine under the House to House Collections Act 1939 (as at 2011) Level 3  =£1,000 `
Average fine under the House to House Collections Act 1939 (2000 to 2011) (CB) around £400
Number of prosecutions resulting in imprisonment (CB) 0
Average costs awarded to the council (CB) around £300
Average period from the collection day to the date of the successful prosecution in court (CB) around 9 months
Number of successful prosecutions by Caerphilly Council (South Wales) (2011 to mid-2012) 5
Number of successful prosecutions by NW Leicestershire District Council (2011 to mid-2012) 4
Enforcement: Average wait before a collector is intercepted on the collection day (CB) 4 hours
(eg 9am to 1pm)
Thefts of filled bags: Percentage of filled bags stolen by third parties before the official collector arrives (CB)
See also the Thefts of filled collection bags page
Thefts of filled bags: Action by the police 2000- 2011 (CB)
- number of successful prosecutions
- number of cautions
300 approx
2. Trading standards departments (TSDs):
See also the page on Government
See also the page on the Regulators - section on TSDs
England: Number of councils in which trading standards and licensing are part of the same council (=single-tier, =unitary) 125 councils `
England: Number of councils in which trading standards and licensing are in different councils (=two-tier)
- counties (including trading standards) eg Norfolk
- districts (including licensing)
Hence, average number of district councils per county
  27 councils
201 councils
7.4 per county
England: Total number of council trading standards departments (TSDs) (including London)
(Source of council figures above: DCLG, CB, 2012)
(The figures above don't take account of the small number of joint TSDs)
152 TSDs
(=125 + 27)
3. Police:  
Number of territorial police forces (England and Wales) 43 forces`
Number of police officers (full-time equivalent =FTE) in E & W at Sept 2011.  (Source: Home Office) 136,000 officers`
Number of police forces which license charitable collections
Metropolitan Police logo (our thanks to the Met)
=Metropolitan Police =London`
4. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA):
See also the Advertising Standards Authority page
See also the A-Z List of collectors page - the ASA column
See also the Regulators page - the section on the ASA
ASA logo
ASA: Number of adjudications (=verdicts on complaints) by the ASA regarding house-to-house clothing collections (2000 to 2011, UK) (CB) approx 35 adjudications *
ASA: The percentage of adjudications on collections (see above) which were upheld (wholly or in part) - ie a "guilty" verdict (CB) 80% approx
ASA: Number of collectors which have been the subject of 2 adjudications (CB) 2
ASA: Number of collectors which have been the subject of 3 adjudications (CB) 1
=Helping Arms Ltd
5. Company Investigations unit (of BIS):
Number of clothing collection companies closed down by the government ('Company Investigations') in the High Court 2011-2012 (CB)  See homepage
=air ambulance scams

Clothes recycling (UK) - Figures per tonne & kg

See also the page:
Charity shops versus house-to-house collections
Visualising a tonne of clothes (=1,000 kilogram) . . .
1 tonne...
=15 wardrobes full of clothes
=4,000 items of clothes
=more than all the clothes on display in a typical charity shop
=around half the clothes bought by a person in the UK in a lifetime
=the weight of an average car
Weights of items:  
Average weight of a coat (CB) 1 kilogram approx
=2.2 lb
Average weight of a man's shirt (CB)
(we weighed a pile of 10 shirts)
170 gram =0.17 kg
=6 ounces
Average weight of a pair of men's shoes size 9½ (CB) (we weighed 6 pairs)
- the lightest pair of these shoes was
- the heaviest pair was
0.84 kilogram
=1.85 lb
0.65 kg =78% of average
1.13 kg =134% of ave
Weight of 10 cased CDs (CB)
Weight of one cased CD
1 kilogram
100 gram =0.1 kg
Weight of a man's watch, leather strap (CB) 30 gram (1 ounce)
Weight of a "Dummies" series computer book, 375 pages (CB) 0.75 kilogram
Weight of a small paperback book, 212 pages (CB) 0.13 kilogram
Weight of a typical mug (ceramic) (CB) 0.28 kilogram (10 ounces)
Charity shops:  
Average revenue from second-hand clothes sold in charity shops (CB, estimate)
(Books and crockery raise less;
CDs, DVDs and jewellery raise more)
  £10,000 per tonne
=£10 per kilogram (kg)
Using the figure above and assuming 25% is profit:
Charity shops: Average profit (=net proceeds) from clothes sold in charity shops (CB, estimate)
  £2,500 per tonne
=£2.50 per kilogram
Charity shops: Average price paid by rag merchants to charity shops for clothes the shops can't sell (2012) (Source: a large charity-shop chain)
See also the section below on charity shops >>>
£600 per tonne`
Royalty collections (house-to-house):  
Average price paid for second-hand clothes (for export) at UK ports - eg paid to royalty collectors (mid-2012)   £1,050 per tonne`
=£1.05 per kilogram
Royalty collections: Average royalty per tonne of clothes, paid by the commercial collector to the partner-charity (CB)  £70 per tonne
=7 pence per kilogram
1. Hence average percentage of revenue paid as royalty by the collector to the charity (=£70 divided by £1,050) (CB) 6.7% `
2. Hence average percentage of revenue kept by the royalty collector (=£1,050 minus £70, divided by £1,050) (CB)
Note: Most of this is spent on operating the house-to-house collections (=the costs) - eg bags, vans, labour
93.3% `
Royalty collections:  Minimum royalty paid, 2012 (CB) £30 per tonne`
Royalty collections: Maximum royalty paid, 2012 (CB) £125 per tonne`
The extra profit for a charity by taking your clothes to a charity shop (rather than using royalty house-to-house collections) - at 2012 (CB)
=£2,500 per tonne, divided by £50 per tonne
See also the section on this on the homepage
See also the page:
Charity shops versus house-to-house collections
50 times more profit for the charity
Average price paid by collectors to charity for clothes in charity recycling banks (2012) (CB) £300 per tonne
Average price paid to the public with commercial cash-for-clothes schemes (2012) (CB)
See also the section on this on the A-Z List of Collectors page
50 pence per kilogram
=£500 per tonne
Price of gold per tonne, Sept 2011 (Source: Wikipedia) US$61.1 million per tonne
=£39 million per tonne
=£39,000 per kilogram
Price of copper metal per tonne, Oct 2012 (Source: BBC) £5,000 per tonne

Charity shops (UK)

~Oxfam charity shop [w614] 
See also:
- the page on Charity shops
- the page on the Charity Retail Association (CRA)
- the 'Annual Charity Shops Survey'
   (by 'Charity Finance' magazine)
Percentage of charity shops where the charity is a member of the Charity Retail Association (CB) 90% ?
Charity shops:
1. Average costs as a percentage of turnover
2. Average profit as a percentage of turnover
Source: CB, from CRA and individual shop chains, 2011 See also the 1997 survey's figure below
75% approx
Number of charity shops in the UK (Source: CRA, 2012) 9,500 shops `
Takings [turnover] for UK charity shops in year 2011/12 (Source: CRA) £974 million `
[=around £1 billion]
Hence profit for UK charity shops in year 2011/12 (assuming 75% costs) (CB) £243 million
1. Average annual turnover (=revenue, =sales) per charity shop (2011/12)
£102,000 per shop
2. Average annual profit (=net proceeds) per shop £25,500 per shop
Percentage revenue from new goods bought in (rather than second-hand donations) at 2007 (Source: CRA)
Examples: Fairtrade tea/coffee, greetings cards
7% *`
Maximum percentage revenue from new goods allowed by law - in charity shops 10%
Number of volunteers working in charity shops (2008)
Note: most are part-time - eg 4-8 hours a week
120,000 volunteers
Percentage of charity shops opening on Sundays (CB, 2012) 5-10% approx
Mains electric plug [w226]Percentage of charity shops accepting donations of mains-powered electrical goods (so they need testing) (CB) 10% approx
Percentage of charity shops accepting donations of large items (eg furniture, electrical 'white' goods eg fridges) (CB) 5% approx
Percentage of charity shops which are specialist - eg bookshops, furniture-only (CB) 2% approx
Average price of second-hand goods in charity shops compared with their price new, as a percentage (CB) 20% approx
Typical prices of specific types of goods in charity shops (various types of clothes, shoes, books, CDs etc)
- see the table on the Charity shops page (CB)
Price of a good-quality jacket or winter dress in a charity shop (=revenue) [weight: 1 kilogram / 2.2lb] (CB) £10 *
Profit (=proceeds) for charity on the sale of the jacket or dress in a charity shop £2.50 profit  *
Profit given to charity by a 'royalty-per-tonne' house-to-house collector for the same jacket or dress (at £50 per tonne) 5 pence profit *   5p coin [w88]
Percentage of clothing donated to charity shops which is discarded as waste (Source: CRA 2012) 2% waste `
Barnardo's charity logo (our thanks to the charity)Barnardo's:
Charity shops in the UK:
- number of charity shops
- number of paid employees
- number of volunteers
Source: Barnardo's, 2012
450 shops `
1,160 employees
8.500 volunteers
British Heart Foundation logo [w84]British Heart Foundation (BHF):
Number of charity shops run by British Heart Foundation at mid-2012 (UK)
720 shops`
=9% of all charity shops in the UK
Profit made by charity shops run by British Heart Foundation - in the financial year ending in 2012 £31 million profit`
Hence profit made per charity shop by British Heart Foundation - in the financial year ending in 2012 £43,000 profit per shop`
Cancer Reseach UK logo [w200]Cancer Research UK
Number of charity shops in the UK, 2012 (Source: the charity) 550-600 shops
Profit from their shops in 2006/7 used to fund research into cancer £16 million
Oxfam logoOxfam:
- number of charity shops
- number of shop volunteers
- weight of donations sorted by the volunteers/month
Source: Guardian: article dated 4 Jan 2011  
700 shops
21,000 volunteers
850 tonnes/month
[=10,200 tonnes a year]
[=14.6 tonnes/shop/year]
Scope (disability charity):
Number of charity shops, 2012 (Source: Scope)
Note on their website (2012):
"A bag of donated goods is worth about £20 to us."
240 shops
Scope: Number of collection bags delivered house-to-house each year (2012) (Source: Scope) 6 million bags
Historical figures - Charity shops survey - 1997:
The figures below were for the largest 10 charity-shop chains, in descending order of total annual income.
For each charity, the figures are:
- Number of shops
- Annual income £
- Annual costs £
- Annual profit £
- 844 43.3m* 28.0m 15.2m  =35% profit
Imperial Cancer Research
(now Cancer Research UK):
- 474 26.0m 21.0m 5.0m  =19% profit
British Heart Foundation (BHF):
- 300 24.6m 18.8m 5.8m  =24% profit
- 276 22.7m 17.5m 6.2m  =27% profit
- 315 18.0m 13.2m 4.8m  =27% profit
Help the Aged [now Age UK]:
- 322 16.5m 12.0m 4.5m  =27% profit
Cancer Research Campaign
(now Cancer Research UK):
- 227 14.5m 11.7m 2.8m  =19% profit
Age Concern England [now Age UK]:
- 400   9.6m  7.3m 2.2m  =23% profit
British Red Cross:
- 355   8.9m  5.7m 3.2m  =36% profit
Save the Children Fund:
- 158   6.6m  4.4m 2.2m  =33% profit
Source: Independent [newspaper] - 2 Feb 1997  
The % profits above were calculated by CharityBags.
The lowest and highest figures are: 19%, 36%
The unweighted crude average of them is 27%
Total number of shops above: 3,671
At 1997 this was around 50% of UK charity shops
Number of charity shops in the Republic of Ireland (ROI)
Source: Charity Retail Association (CRA), 2012
See also the Irish Charity Shops Association (ICSA)  
270 shops `
Flag of Ireland [200w]

Clothing banks (UK) =containers

See also the section on clothing banks on the
A-Z List of clothing collectors page
Number of clothing banks operated by the Salvation Army (SA) (they run the largest number of clothing banks in the UK) 4,500 clothing banks*
Planet Aid: Number of clothing banks in the UK (eg in pub car parks)
(Note: Planet Aid is not a charity; it's a 'scam')
See also the page on Planet Aid, Humana, Tvind and TG
1,000 banks
Planet Aid: Number of yellow donation bins in the USA (Source: Planet Aid website, 2012) 13,000 bins
Global assets of the Planet Aid/Humana/Tvind/TG group.  Source: Tvind Alert   $840 million

Waste, re-use and recycling (UK)

~Recycling symbol 
See also the page on Re-use and recycling
See also WRAP: www.wrap.org.uk  
Waste: Average amount thrown away by every household in the UK each year.
This amounts to 30 million tonnes in total.
Source: Waste Watch report (November 2005)
1.2 tonnes of waste *
Fee charged by the Environment Agency (EA) for a Waste Carrier Licence (upper tier) for commercial organisations, at mid-2012 (Source: EA) £154 registration`
£105 renewal
Number of council waste collections each year in the UK =house-to-house visits (26.3m homes x 52 weeks x 0.75) (CB) 1 billion visits per year
(=1,000 million)
Number of plastic bags given out in the UK in 2008 (Source: DEFRA via fizbag.com) 10 billion bags per year
=400 per household
Typical cost of hiring a rubbish skip, 2014 (CB) £150 incl VAT

Textile recycling (UK)

See also the page on Textile recycling
See also the reports for DEFRA by Oakdene Hollins Ltd
Textile Recycling Association (TRA)  =the trade body
TRA website: www.textile-recycling.org.uk  
Textile Recycling Association - logo (our thanks)
Textile Recycling Association:
- number of full members (at mid-2012)
- number of associate members
50 full members `
Textile Recycling Association:
- number of full members which are charities (at mid-2012)
- number of associate members which are charities
2 (=Oxfam and TRAID)
1 (=GNAA)
Quantity of textiles thrown out annually, UK 2 million tonnes per year
Percentage of UK landfill taken up by textiles and shoes.
Source: European Recycling Co (ERC) website, Feb 2011
12% *
Percentage of the world's population using second-hand clothes
Source: European Recycling Co (ERC) website, Feb 2011
over 70% *`
Number of people employed in textile recycling in the UK.  Source: TRA
15-20,000 people`
Number of people employed in textile recycling in Europe.
Source: TRA
250,000 people*`
Number of people employed in the "recycling and used textile industries" in the USA, 2012 20-30,000 people
Percentages of re-used unwanted clothes:
1. Taken direct to charity shops by the donor
2. Taken to recycling banks
3. Given to house-to-house collections
Source: CB - speculative estimate
Please contact us if you have any better figures ...
33% ?
33% ?
33% ?
Percentage of councils which take textiles with house-to-house kerbside recycling collections, 2012 (CB, guess) 40% ? ?



General statistics

United Kingdom (UK):  
Britain or Great Britain (GB):
  =England, Scotland and Wales (Eng, E; S, W)
United Kingdom (UK):
  =Britain plus Northern Ireland (NI)
British Isles:
  =UK plus islands (eg Channel Islands and Isle of Man)
Union Jack - flag of the UK
Land area of the UK (Wikipedia, 2012) 243,610 sq km`
=94,060 sq miles
Population of the UK (Wikipedia, 2011) 62½ million people`
Population of England and Wales as a percentage of the UK's population, 2011 (CB) 88%

UK population table (Wikipedia)
Source of the table above (screengrab image) :
Wikipedia: Demography of the UK   (at Feb 2011)
Map of the UK [w200]
England & Wales in dark red
Number of households (homes) in the UK 2011 (source: ONS) 26.3 million households`
Average number of people per household (UK, 2011) 2.38 people`
Number of households (homes) in England & Wales 2011 (CB) 23.1 million households`
National Minimum Wage rate (NMW) for workers aged 21 or over, from 1st Oct 2011 (Source: DirectGov) £6.08 per hour`
Average gross annual earnings per employee (UK, in 2008)  (Source: BBC) £26,000 per employee
Number of vehicles licensed for use on the roads in Great Britain (at the end of 2010)
... of which the number of cars was:
Source: Department for Transport (DfT), from DVLA
34.1 million vehicles
28.4 million cars
- its land area is around 55% of England's
- but its population is only 10% of England's
(In other words, England has a much higher density of population)
Flag of Scotland [w800]
Population of South East England
(=London, the home counties etc)
18 million`
=30% of the UK's population
Greater London: Number of London Boroughs (LBs)
eg Barnet, Bexley, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Westminster
32 boroughs`
plus the City of London Corporation
Greater London: Population (Wikipedia, 2012) 8.25 million`
Number of companies in the UK (Source: Companies House, Cardiff)
See also the Companies and company information page
2 million`
See also the Government page
See also the Variations across the UK page
See also the Regulators page
Number of Members of Parliament (MPs), UK mid-2012 (Wikipedia) 650 MPs     Crowned portcullis logo [w200]
Local councils in England:
(Source: Dept for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Aug 2012)
a) Two-tier areas:
- number of county councils (excl Isle of Wight unitary)
- number of district councils (=lower tier)
27 county councils
201 district councils
b) Single-tier areas (=unitary authorities):
- 33 London boroughs (incl City of London Corp)
- 36 metropolitan districts
- 55 unitaries (including all county unitary authorities)
-   1 Isles of Scilly
Note: single-tier areas make up 53% of the population
125 total
Hence total number of councils in England 353 `
Number of parish councils in England (2012)
(Source: National Association of Local Councils (NALC))
8,500 parish councils
Law, courts:
See also: Ministry of Justice website: statistics page  
Number of magistrates in England and Wales (Source: Guardian, 1 Apr 2011) 27,000 magistrates
Number of junk mail deliveries (visits) to homes each year in the UK (CB, 2012) (26.3m homes x 400) 10 billion approx
=10,000 million
Percentage of homes with "no junk mail" notices (CB, 2012) 5-10%
Population of the world, 2011 (Source: World Bank)
   7 billion people`
=7,000 million
Population of the European Union (EU) (27 countries) at 2012 (Source: Wikipedia) 503 million people`
=½ billion
Ireland =Republic of Ireland:
population, 2011 census (Source: Wikipedia)
4.6 million people`
Lithuania (a Baltic state in Eastern Europe):
population at 2011 (Source: Wikipedia)
Capital: Vilnius, 2nd city: Kaunas.  Joined the EU in 2004.
(A substantial proportion of clothing collectors in the UK are Lithuanian - see A-Z List of collectors)
3.2 million people`
USA - population at July 2011 (US Census Bureau) 311 million people`

Charities (England and Wales)

See also:
- the page on Charities
- the website of the Charity Commission for E & W  
- the website of 'Third Sector'   magazine
- the websites of 'umbrella' charities eg NCVO, CAF
Number of registered charities in England and Wales (Source: Charity Commission, 2012) 180,000 charities`
Number of people employed by charities in the UK, end of 2010 (Source: NCVO) 765,000 people   =¾m `
=2.7% of the UK workforce
Total annual income of charities in England and Wales (2004) over £20 billion *`
=over £20,000 million
Average percentage 'efficiency' of charities (=amount left to do good works after subtracting administrative expenses etc) 85%
Percentage extra income produced by Gift Aid (taxpayers only) (applies to donations of cash and goods) (HMRC) 25% `
Number of air ambulance (AA) charities (E & W) (CB)
See also the pages on air ambulances - eg
Air ambulance organisations - introduction
21 charities
Number of ".org.uk" web addresses (domain names) (Source: Nominet, Aug 2011).  See also the page:
Use/misuse of ".org.uk" [not-for-profit] web addresses
500,000 `
Percentage of misused ".org.uk" web addresses (2011)
eg www.AirAmbulanceService.org.uk until Dec 2011
(CB, rough estimate)
1-2% *
Amount of fraud in the charity sector, UK, and percentage (Source: National Fraud Authority (NFA), 2012)
See Charity Finance Group (CFG) blog of 8 June 2012: http://blog.cfg.org.uk/.../charity-fraud...  
  £1.1 billion annually `
=£1,100 million
=1.7% of its total income

Retail (UK) =shops

See also the section on charity shops above  
UK retail sales in 2010.
Source: British Retail Consortium (BRC)
£293 billion *`
=£293,000 million
UK retail sales in 2010 - per household (Source: BRC/CB)
£11,250 per household`
Clothing and footwear as a percentage of UK retail sales, 2010 (CB) 10% approx ?
Hence UK retail sales of clothing and footwear, 2010 (CB) £29 billion approx ?
Numbers of retail premises:  
Charity shops: Number in the UK, 2012 (Source: CRA) 9,500 charity shops
Tesco: Number of Tesco-branded stores in the UK including convenience stores, Aug 2012 (Source: Wikipedia) 2,331 stores
WH Smith: Number of High Street stores in the UK, 2012 (Source: the company's website) 550 stores
Bank branches: Number in the UK (Source: Daily Telegraph, 3 Apr 2010) 11,220 branches
Estate agency branches: Number in the UK (Source: Daily Telegraph, 6 May 2008) 12,000 branches
Public libraries: Number in the UK, 2008-09 (Source: CILIP/LISU) 4,517 libraries

Clothes - new (UK)

See also the page on Clothing trends  
Amount of new clothing and shoes purchased by consumers in the UK each year
Source: European Recycling Co (ERC) website, Feb 2011
2.15 million tonnes*
Clothing and footwear: Expenditure (per household) at 30 Nov 2010.
Source: report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS): "Family Spending"
£20.90 per week*`
=£1,090 per year
Hence clothing and footwear: total UK expenditure 2010 (=figure per household [above] x 26.3m households) (CB) £29 billion per year `
The amount of water needed to produce the cotton for a pair of jeans 957 gallons



Explanatory notes on the table above

What do the abbreviations mean ?

` Back-sloping apostrophe.
Indicates the figure has been checked.  Examples:   £2,000 `    £2,000 *`
* Ignore the asterisks.  Example: £2,000 *
CB Estimate by us (CharityBags =CB)
CRA Charity Retail Association (covers all the UK)
DCLG Department for Communities and Local Government
E & W England and Wales
LD Local council licensing department
ONS Office for National Statistics (a central government agency)
TRA Textile Recycling Association (a trade body)
TSD Local council trading standards department

Map of the UK [w200]
Dark red =England & Wales

Geographical coverage

Unless otherwise stated, the figures apply to (1) England and Wales, or (2) the UK.
England and Wales has 88% of the UK's population.

We've given some figures for England and Wales only, as the 1939 Act applies only to England and Wales.  See also the page on Variations across the UK.


The dates of the statistics on this page range from 2000 to now.
Date ranges are inclusive - eg "2000 to 2013" includes the years 2000 and 2013.

How to find statistics on other pages - using xStatistics:markers

The Statistics page (which you're now looking at) is the main place to find statistics on the website.

However, there are statistics scattered across the website on other pages.  We're arranging things so you can find many of them easily.  We're going through each page and adding a searchable marker thus: xStatistics:immediately before each statistics item.  This helps you (and us) in two ways :

1. When you're looking at a single page :

2. You can search for the markers across the whole site (eg using Google) as follows :

Note:  We've used an artificial word ('xStatistics') for the name of the markers - rather than just 'statistics'.  This was done so that a search for them is 100% accurate - because, if we'd just called them 'statistics', you'd retrieve all mentions of the word 'statistics'.

Statistics on the CharityBags site - a bit of history . . .

1.  Until recently, most of the statistics were scattered across the site - on the page dealing with the topic - eg collection leaflets and bags, charity shops or charities.

2.  Then, a while ago we started placing xStatisticsmarkers by some of the statistics (see above) - to make them more accessible (easier to find).

3.  Finally, we decided to start a dedicated web page of statistics - so they're all in one place.  The result is the page you're now looking at - called (unsurprisingly):
"Statistics" - with the filename: "statistics.shtml"

We're now moving some of the statistics on other pages to the Statistics page.  Where the statistic used to be, we're adding a note referring readers to the Statistics page - eg "See the Statistics page".

When you're browsing the site, you may find it helpful to open the Statistics page in another tab - so you can refer to it more easily.

Miscellaneous statistics


The article is dated 11 October 2011.
Extract (our thanks to the publisher; bold added by CharityBags) :

"Rags to riches: clothing collection in numbers

  • 15m - estimated number of bags collected annually from doorsteps in the UK [Source: Clothes Aid/Charity Retail Association]
  • £50m - estimated cost of charity bag fraud in the UK each year [Source: National Fraud Investigation Bureau - NFIB]
  • One in 10,000 - estimated proportion of bogus bag collections that result in prosecution by local councils
  • £160m - revenue generated by charity shops in the UK each year

Note by CharityBags:  You can derive more statistics from those given above.  Examples :

Textile Recycling Association logo (our thanks to the TRA)

Textile Recycling Association (TRA)

Our thanks to the TRA.

TRA press release (dated 19 Oct 2005) headed :
"Textile Recycling Businesses: Are they an endangered species?"


". . . By reprocessing textiles, clothes and shoes the industry is prolonging the useful life of these commodities, they help preserve the environment.  By employing over 250,000 persons in Europe . . .

. . . In the UK the [textile recycling] trade employs around 15,000-20,000 people . . ."


TRA press release (dated 12 Dec 2005) on the second-hand clothing trade in Africa.
Extract :

"The benefits extend to the UK where we estimate that private textile reclamation businesses employ around 5 – 10,000 people, with a further 9,500 employed in UK charity shops."


=Textile Recycling Association - press release (dated 14 Sept 2011) headed :
"TRA endorses positive actions to protect reputation of £200 million pa charity fundraising clothing collections."  Extract :

". . .  [charitable] used clothing collections, which we [TRA] estimate to raise in excess of £200 million a year for various charitable causes."


=Textile Recycling Association - press release (dated 20 Feb 2012) headed :
"TRA - High price of used clothing has profound effects on charities’, businesses’ and local authorities’ ability to raise funds."  Extract :

"Delegates that attended the Annual General Meeting of the TRA on Monday (13th February [2012]) heard that there are still over 1 million tonnes of textiles being dumped in households waste bins every year, of which around 60% could have been re-used or recycled.

In addition, official figures estimate that around 300-400,000 tonnes are accumulating in the national wardrobe each year, with purchases of new clothing outstripping the amount being sent for re-use/recycling or being dumped in the bin."

Some issues to do with statistics . . .


Is the source given (or implied)?

Is the source likely to be biased or not?
(Do they have an axe to grind?) - eg a company, trade body

Is a date given?

Is the period given? - eg is it weekly, monthly or annual?
Is it a calendar year (=Jan to Dec) or a financial year?

Is the geographical area given? - eg does it apply to all the UK or only England and Wales?

Are they comparing like with like? - eg is it revenue (ie including costs) or is it only profit?

With prices, do they include VAT?

What's the definition of the item?  For example, when they refer to "clothes" :

With people, are they referring to individuals or households?

With employment (and volunteers), are the figures "full-time equivalent" (FTE) or not?

With losses, are they referring to fraud or just inefficiency?

With ratios/percentages, are they quoting them by numbers, volume, weight or value?

With calculated figures:

With "over" (eg "Over £2m was raised"), what do they really mean?
- eg 2 to 2.1 or 2 to 2.99?

Plus icon Minus icon        

With a statistic, what's the accuracy/range?
- eg is " £4,275" meant to be an exact figure or just an estimate?

'Tree of Hope' clothing collection leaflet

Oxfam charity shop - New Bond Street, Central London
Oxfam charity shop - New Bond Street, Central London
(our thanks to The Guardian / Ray Tang / Rex Features)