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Re-use over recycle: Expand your wardrobe’s life cycle potential

Pink Elephant Group specialises in recycled clothing and the re-use of household textiles, clothing, shoes, accessories such as handbags, bric-a-brac, commercial textile and other small household items. The company currently operates textile bank collections and recycling schemes across the country. These textile banks are bright pink in colour, to match the company name and brand.

The main ambition for the company and its focus is to promote re-use, before recycle, leading to increased use of high-quality second-hand items and increasing the market of second-hand goods in the UK, potentially lowering purchase of new goods leading to positive environmental feedback.

“Our main aim as a business is to provide support and facilitate practical services to individual members of the public, as well as to local authorities and commercial organisations through arranging various re-use schemes. Through our textile bank, we provide a direct service to the public, and provide financial means to anyone who permits us to use their space on a rental basis.

“Our textile banks are clearly instructed to only accept reusable textiles from the general public. This means that when textiles we receive are processed and supplied back to consumers as part of the chain process, we provide the highest quality of products that have been carefully selected. Such an approach has allowed us to consider going into several other markets, such as clothes rental and up-cycling. Projects that we are currently working on will bring better and higher quality services to the general public in the near future.” stated Oleksii Kotyk, Director.

Pink Elephant Group promotes refuse, reduce, re-use, recycle, where consumers are encouraged initially, before considering buying new, to check what is already available from what they have and if there is anything that could be bought from second-hand markets. When buying new, then to consider how long the item can be used for its original purpose.

In a world where the rising trend of cheap disposable goods leads to thousands of tons of waste generated every year, it is only a matter of time before we reach our pivotal tipping point. By promoting re-use, making it fashionable, desirable, accessible, through working together, everyone can benefit from creating a circular sustainable way of everyday life. By working together and opting out for better new quality items, we can create a high-quality market of used and new items in the UK, creating more jobs in the up-cycling and re-use industries.

“At Pink Elephant Group, we are trying to help members of general public who have no immediate access, due to time constrains, logistics or other reasons to visit recycling centres and therefore, we offer a house collection service for items of clothes, textile, bric-a-brac, small electrical items in working order, small items of furniture, toys, books, etc. Such items can be used, re-used, up-cycled, and only then recycled. So, by buying fewer items and re-using what we have, we can greatly help improve the environment we all live in, which in turn, creates more choices, new jobs and services.” added Oleksii.

In terms of recent announcements, the Pink Elephant Group has joined Textile2030, a new ground-breaking, expert-led initiative, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of UK leaders in sustainability to accelerate the whole fashion and textiles industry’s move towards circularity and system change in the UK, led by WRAP.

Recent developments in the company’s business include the expansion of its textile banks in various places of England. The Pink Elephant Group has also started to offer a home collection service to members of the general public in several areas of England and the company plans to expand upon it, making it into a regular collection service. Furthermore, the company has added a new subsection to its dry-cleaning service, which will soon operate by equipping its services with a higher quality of clothing, in order to provide an improved service both to its local clients and to e-commerce consumers.

Facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the textile recycling sector had many challenges to overcome and the full extent of the effects on the industry, is yet to come to light.

Oleksii explained, “Starting from the initial lockdown, where businesses had stopped and had to evaluate how to move forward, then to partial re-opening and subsequent closures with distorted supply chains, influx of materials in waves, coinciding with clear-outs by the general public during lockdown periods; overall there has been a fall in the quantity of the material disposed, as well as temporary bans and closures of main export markets which created many challenges. It is only by working together with our customers that we are managing to remain stable and we even achieved some growth.“

Looking to the future, Pink Elephant Group’s aim is to broaden its commercial horizon by securing further contracts for its textile banks, to be placed in various of locations across the UK. With plans to execute a strategic marketing campaign to promote its business and goals to the general public, Pink Elephant Group is committed to increasing its brand awareness and commercial presence in a wider capacity.

“Our focus is to secure partnerships with local authorities and social organisations. Currently, we’re signatories of the Textile 2030 programme, and we are hoping to work more closely with other members of the group to make a tangible impact on the textiles sector. We’re challenging ourselves to expand our business both in terms of geographical location and range of services provided, and our mission is to promote our eco-friendly ideology by working with like-minded organisations and individuals.”

Oleksii continued, “Lastly, we’re exploring innovative ways to re-use and recycle clothing by working with various other stakeholders in the industry, so that we can learn from other experts and specialists to identify any shortfalls in our business practice, improve our services, and broaden our consumer base.”

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