The Big Wardrobe Cleanup ended with almost 4 tonnes of collected textiles

Between 31 March and 18 April, ALFA Shopping Centre in cooperation with Latvijas Zaļais punkts organised a textiles recycling campaign – the Big Wardrobe Cleanup, during which people were encouraged to spring clean their wardrobe, sort textiles and bring unnecessary clothes and shoes to a special textiles container. In less than three weeks, 3.6 tonnes of textiles were collected in the campaign instead of the planned goal of 1.5 tonnes. 

Liene Apine, Manager of ALFA Shopping Centre, told: We are truly satisfied with the active involvement of the people and their willingness to not only tidy up the wardrobe, but also change habits towards more environmentally friendly ones. The feeling of a clean and tidy wardrobe is inspiring – it’s a small, symbolic proof that we can tidy up every area of our life if we put sufficient effort into it. What’s even more inspiring is the awareness that, thanks to our responsible recycling, a tiny part of our planet will be able to breathe more easily this spring. To provide people with such an opportunity also in the future and to promote a change of habits, the textiles container will be permanently placed at the multi-storey car park of ALFA, accessible from Stāmerienas Street.

People were encouraged to put their unnecessary shoes, clothes, curtains, bed linens and other textiles in the textiles container. The activity level was so high that the textiles container at ALFA needed to be emptied more often than initially planned – sometimes as many as three times a day, and already during the first week slightly more than 1 tonne of textiles was collected. People also liked the outdoor installation in the form of a mountain of clothes called “Nothing to wear?” displayed outside ALFA during the campaign, which not only made people think about the damage caused to the environment by incorrectly managed textiles and our habits in consumption of fashion, but also promoted information exchange about the possibilities to recycle textiles.

The Big Wardrobe Cleanup campaign is another small but important step allowing us to join forces and reduce the negative impact of textiles on the environment, and also avoid unwanted clothing ending up in landfills. Today people’s habits are shaped by fast fashion and thoughtless shopping, so the amount of used textiles continues to rise despite the fact that on average 30% of Europeans’ clothes hang in wardrobes without use. In addition, a large share of textiles are simply thrown away as household waste instead of being reused or recycled, creating just as much pollution as other waste. I hope that with this campaign people’s wardrobes have become less stuffed and that sorting and recycling of unneeded textiles has become a lasting habit,” said Kaspars Zakulis, director of Latvijas Zaļais punkts.

The textiles placed into the textiles container were transported to SIA “Eco Baltia vide” sorting facility in Tukums, where they are sorted into at least 30 fractions according to quality, seasonality and other parameters. Good quality textiles are sent for reuse to developing countries of the world, some high-quality children’s and youth clothes are donated to Taureņa efekts charity organisation, while other textiles find a “second life” in recycling.  

In total, there are 61 textiles containers available for people in Latvia, located at ALFA Shopping Centre and other locations in Riga, as well as in Salaspils, Ādaži, Piņķi, Ogre, other places around Riga and in many locations in Northern Vidzeme region. This year, it is planned to increase the existing number of textiles containers with 20 new containers, some of which will be installed across Kurzeme region already during the summer. The exact locations of the containers can be found in the interactive map of waste sorting locations on the website of Latvijas Zaļais punkts.