The charity partnerships director of innovative Yorkshire-based textile recycling company BIU Group has been elected president of a national trade organisation.
Wendy Yarney has been chosen to take the helm of the Textile Recycling Association (TRA), which represents collectors, sorters, processors and exporters of used clothing and textiles. Her three-year term of office begins on July 1.
Wendy has pledged to continue the TRA’s drive to reduce thefts from clothing banks, which cost good causes hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. The association estimates around 20 charity clothing banks are stolen from car parks around the UK every week, depriving charities and local authorities of a vital source of revenue.
According to the TRA, gangs steal clothing from donation banks – in some cases, even taking the banks themselves. In one instance, thieves in south east England were stealing around 30 tonnes of clothing every week from charity and local authority banks, which would have raised around £500,000 a year. It can cost between six and eight weeks to replace a stolen donation bank, with each costing the provider around £1,500.
Wendy also aims to promote transparency and best practice throughout the textile recycling industry.
Halifax-based BIU Group collects unwanted clothes, shoes and household textiles, then sells reusable items to businesses in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. A proportion of profits are donated to its charity partners, which include Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Ark Cancer Centre in Basingstoke. Since its formation in 2005, BIU has now generated £8m for good causes.
The company’s innovative business model was included in the 2017 Parliamentary Review, which celebrates best practice and is widely regarded as a blueprint for success across the private and public sector.
Wendy said: “I’m delighted and extremely proud to have been chosen to represent my peers as the president of the Textile Recycling Association. During my time in office I hope to continue the sterling work that our organisation has already carried out in preventing callous thefts from clothing banks that deprive charities and local authorities of hundreds of thousands of pounds each year. We need to formulate a national strategy with anti-crime agencies to eradicate these appalling and audacious thefts.”
Wendy was unveiled as president at the association’s recent annual meeting in Manchester, when guest speaker Eric Warshaw, of the American ITAC for Textiles and Clothing, shared insights into how the US is dealing with plans by some African countries to phase out imports of second-hand clothing and shoes from western countries by 2019.
To find out where your nearest clothing recycling bank is, please visit the Charity Partners page at www.biugroup.co.uk and click on the Bank Locator, or call 01422 418618.