Recycling bags FAQs

Got a burning question about our bag collections?

As a charity, we are always looking for new ways to fundraise and get the community involved in what we do. Recycling is one of the ways in which we raise awareness of our name, raise funds and also help the environment.

Although we are a national charity, we do not have the resources to distribute and collect bags around the country. That is why we are currently partnered with East London Textiles Limited (ELT), who collect and distribute our bags for us.

With over 30 years experience, East London Textiles specialises in recycling and exporting used clothing and shoes. They are one of the largest textile recycling companies in the UK and will be dropping Leukaemia Care branded collection bags in areas up and down the UK.

All of their collections are permitted by the local councils and all bags will feature a dedicated helpline number and email address for any enquiries relating to our collection.

The organisation and man power involved in sorting through the charity bags is something to behold. The charity bag will be collected and dropped back at the plant. Each bag is then opened and tipped onto a sorting belt. The skilled workers organise the clothing not just through type, such as t-shirt, trousers, or dress, but by quality. The staff are trained to be able to tell the quality of an item and the materials they are made from with just one touch. This is how they can get through the bags so quickly.

To determine the quality of a fabric, they look for fibres that mean the item will have a higher cost price or will be able to produce more profit. This depends on many things, such as material, how faded the colouring or pictures are, stains and generally if the item of clothing is coming to the end of its life cycle. Each item of clothing can be touched up to 22 times during processing as it gets categorised at each stage to determine where it is best placed.

Also, it is not only clothing that is recycled by ELT; they are also sorting through thousands of cuddly toys, bedding and bric-a-brac that has been donated.

The clothes end up in crates that are due to be sent abroad. Even the items that are ‘less’ good quality get sorted separately and sent abroad. Any items that are unusable (which is rare) are taken and shredded to be sold on as rags. There is 0% landfill coming from ELT. Every piece of clothing they receive gets used in some way, shape or form.

What is a national exemption order for bag collections?

Leukaemia Care is in receipt of a national exemption order for its bag collections. There are currently 46 national exemption order holders relating to house-to-house collections.

Once a charity has an Exemption Order, it no longer needs to apply for collection licences from local councils.  The benefits of this:

  • The charity – It reduces the amount of administrative work carried out by the charity.  This reduces their costs – thus increasing the net proceeds raised.
  • Local councils – It reduces their workload (and costs).

However, the charity is required to notify the licensing department of each council before it carries out a collection in their area – so the council knows what’s going on.

You can find a current list of exemption order holders on the official website of the UK government here.

How do I stop the delivery of charity bags?

It is simple to request to stop receiving our bags. Firstly, you can contact the team at East London Textiles on 0330 004 0595 and if you supply them with a house number and postcode, you can be added to a suppression list. We will do the same if you choose to contact Leukaemia Care directly. You can do this by emailing or ringing 01905 755977.

In late 2017, the fundraising preference service was launched. You can request, via this website, for charities to remove you from their mailing lists and they have 28 days to action this. You can find out more on the following website:



What if the clothes I put out get wet in the rain?

That’s okay! ELT have a large tumble dryer to make sure all the clothes that may come in wet can be dried before being sorted.

Can I still put clothes in my bag, even if they aren’t high quality?

Yes! Of course. Even if your item is faded or lost colour, it can still be used in some way, so don’t be shy.

Will my higher quality items get used in the best way?

Absolutely. As discussed above, staff are trained to see and feel the higher quality items and they are categorised as such.

What can I do if my charity bag hasn't been collected?

Leukaemia Care have a helpline number set up that goes directly to ELT at the plant. If you pass on your house number and postcode, they will be able to tell you the next collection date in your area.

The helpline number is: 0330 004 0595, or you can call ELT direct on 020 8501 0743 to speak to someone about your bag.

Are the drivers who are distributing and picking up bags Leukaemia Care staff?

No, all the drivers are ELT staff. You should be able to identify them as they should be wearing a hi-vis vest and a lanyard with their name. Also, their vans should have magnetic number plates.

I want my house taken off the distribution list, how do I do that?

That’s no problem. If you ever want to stop LC charity bags coming through your door, you can simply call the helpline number (0330 004 0595) to pass on your house number and postcode. Then you can be removed from the list.

How can I tell if my bag is legitimate?

This is a tough one as it is notoriously easy for charity bag designs to be duplicated. The main thing to look out for is Leukaemia Care’s charity number: 259483. The bag will also have a Leukaemia Care logo as well as the logo of our partner, ELT. If you still have doubts about the bag, you can ring the help line on 0330 004 0595 and they can check if they’ve had a delivery in your area.

What time will my bag be collected?

This varies depending on where you are and the driver’s plan for the day.

We cannot give you a specific time, but they will collect between 8am-7pm, so if you leave your bag at the end of your drive, in clear view of the street, the driver will collect it for you.

I only have one bag but I want to donate more clothes, can I use black bags?

Yes! Just make sure the black bags have Leukaemia Care written on them, or are attached to the collection bag, and then the driver will know they need to be taken.

I have accidentally put a personal item in my bag, can I get it back?

Unfortunately, this is not always possible. Thousands of bags a day can be brought back to the plant from around the country, and all bags are processed within 24 hours.

You can always call the helpline (0330 004 0595) and if the bag has been collected very recently, we may be able to track the driver and get it back. However, this is an uncommon occurrence.