Unwanted clothes turn into opportunities for people in need

With the world turning to sustainable fashion, Theresa Dutton tells InJae Kang about her clothes recycling program, Liberty Recycling.

The fast fashion industry has created a massive increase in textile wastes due to overconsumption and rapidly changing trends, but this has created an opportunity for entrepreneurial individuals. 

Around 225,000 tonnes of clothing are estimated to be dumped in Ireland annually, with textile waste becoming one of the significant environmental problems.

However, there are unwanted clothes that make their way into recycling intending to free people from addictions, instead of just being dumped into a bin. There are 180 textile recycling banks located in supermarket car parks throughout Ireland. 

‘Liberty Recycling’ located in Camden Street of Dublin draw a steady stream of local customers

The textile recycling banks not only avoid textile wastes but also make valuable resources for people in need. The recycling banks are operated by a charitable organisation ‘Liberty Recycling’. 

‘Liberty Recycling’ is a nationwide social enterprise that collects, sorts, grades, and packs reusable textiles at its factory located in Bluebell, for sale in their national charity shops in Dublin, Waterford, Limerick, Bray, and Wexford. 

In addition, some unsellable clothes that would have otherwise ended up in landfills are reprocessed into textiles and fabrics, then repurposed into cleaning wipes. 

Despite the outbreak of Covid-19 and mask restrictions, ‘Liberty Recycling’, located in Camden Street, continues to draw a steady stream of local customers with a varied range of second-hand clothes and fashion items such as men and ladies clothing, shoes, and accessories.

“We provide a council and support for people who are struggling with drug addictions.” 

Theresa Dutton of Liberty Recycling.

Theresa Dutton, (55), manager of ‘Liberty Recycling’ in Camden Street, said: “Over 40-50 people come into the store during a day to look at clothes and random items. “ 

Mar Lar (50) a staff and Theresa Dutton (55) a manager of ‘Liberty Recycling’.

“To sell all donated clothes and accessories in here (Liberty Recycling), we have collecting and cleaning processes in a warehouse that located in Bluebell. 

The sale revenue goes into a foundation for its variety of programmes that provide a rehabilitation department for drug and alcohol addiction while also offering training modules including literacy, communications, maths, computers and career preparation.

According to the ‘Liberty Recycling’ website, “Liberty Recycling is a caring idea that grew in Dublin’s Iveagh Markets from the Moloney Family’s time trading used clothes in the market.” 

“The market closed in 1995, but a group led by Philip Moloney came together with the idea of involving the community in a clothes recycling initiative to provide employment and training to local people affected by drugs.” 

As the charitable enterprise has been helping people for 20 years, not only were 1,742 tonnes of textile waste recycled, but 1,252 people have also benefited from their time in the initiatives rehabilitation programme.

More information see: