Tipping the scales: eBay UK saves over 17,771 tonnes of clothing from landfill

Press Release

eBay reveals equivalent weight of 1,404 double decker buses worth of fashion items have been saved from landfill in 2021 thanks to secondhand sales 


LONDON, 3rd September 2021 - In a bid to inspire the nation to keep fashion items in circulation and in support of Oxfam’s Second Hand September campaign, eBay reveals the sustainably savvy shopping habits of the pandemic are here to stay with 28 million pre-loved fashion items given a new home so far this year.

Saving 17,771 tonnes, the equivalent weight of 1,404 double decker buses of fashion items going to landfill**, eBay is encouraging consumers to continue buying and selling second-hand items to help the nation tackle the whopping 336,000 tonnes of clothing sent to landfill every year in the UK*. 

Further data reveals: 

  • So far in 2021, 87 million pre-loved items went to a new home,  almost a quarter of which were pre-loved fashion items 

  • Over four second-hand items sold every second so far in 2021 

  • Sales of pre-loved items are up 29% since 2018 suggesting a more permanent shift towards thrift as the pandemic drives more conscious shopping behaviours 

  • During lockdown of 2021, there were 32% more secondhand sales as Brits looked to declutter and make some extra cash

Emma Grant, Head of Preloved at eBay UK said: It’s fantastic to see conscious shopping getting more mainstream and sustainable purchasing habits stretching beyond the pandemic, proving that pre-loved is more than just a trend. With the market for second hand sales continuing to grow, this year we’ve managed to save even more items from landfill by finding them new homes and extending their lifecycle.

This Oxfam’s Second Hand September, we’re encouraging consumers to clear out their cupboards and sell for charity by matching donations. With the new season upon us there’s no better time to clear out those cupboards, help your items find a new home, making a little money and all while supporting an amazing cause.” 

Oxfam’s Second Hand September encourages the nation to buy and sell only second-hand for 30 days or more to stop clothes from going to landfill. This year, to share the pre-loved love, eBay UK has announced that it will match all items sold for Oxfam on the marketplace £1 for £1*** - with consumers able to donate anything from 10%-100% of the proceeds from each item. The money raised will go to Oxfam’s work beating poverty around the world.

Lorna Fallon at Oxfam, said: “We’re excited to be partnering with eBay to encourage people to buy and sell second-hand clothing, and raise as much money as possible for our work fighting poverty around the world. Buying second-hand helps to reduce the impact of clothing on the environment by giving garments a new lease of life.”

The figures highlight key themes that illustrate UK shopping trends post pandemic

Clear Cupboards Clear Minds 

Starting the year in lockdown gave the nation the opportunity to declutter their cupboards and minds while making some extra cash with:

  • 32% more secondhand sales as thrifty Brits took to the marketplace to cure january blues by bagging a pre-loved bargain 

  • 12% more secondhand fashion sales with Brits keen to put their most sustainable fashion foot forward in 2021 

Tech This Out 

And with a slow and staggered return to work, Brits are continuing to stock up their home offices with pre-loved tech, saving money while reducing waste as:

  • One pre-loved tech item has sold every two seconds in 2021 so far  

  • eBay has witnessed a 19% sales increase of secondhand tech- a 14% lift since 2019

The Pre-Loved Roadmap 

Just six days after the Government published its roadmap out of lockdown, shoppers were keen to pick up pre-loved items to help them prepare for the route to freedom as: 

  • February 28th saw the highest number of pre-loved sales so far in 2021 

Nostalgic Revival 

With 2020 spent mostly locked down at home, the nation found comfort in the styles of days gone by inspiring a return to the nineties and noughties with: 

  • Sweater vest searches jumping up 888% 

  • Searches for Juicy Couture tracksuits up 200% as consumers emulate the style of noughties icons while enjoying a more comfortable look 

Most popular brands to buy and sell secondhand on eBay in 2021:

1.  Next

2.  Nike

3.  M&S

4.  Adidas

5.  Zara

6.  New Look

7.  River Island

8.  Primark

9.  George

10.  H&M

Most popular items to sell secondhand on eBay in 2021 with average selling price include:

1.  Tops & shirts - £8

2.  Dresses - £14

3.  Coats, jackets & waistcoats – £27

4.  Jumpers & cardigans - £14

5.  Trainers - £86

6.  Bags & Handbags – £57  

7.  T Shirts - £16

8.  Jeans - £11

9.  Trousers - £10

10.  Skirts -  £9


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Notes to Editor

eBay sales and listings data Jan 2018 - August 2021  

*source, 2018

**Immediate diversion of second hand items going to landfill

***Up to £50,000

Tips for selling for Oxfam this Second Hand September 

  1.  Key words are key - Take the time to get your keywords right and bidders will come. When buyers search, automatically filters the listing titles, so it's crucial to write your listing in your fellow users’ language and use the terminology they search for - especially brand and product names.  

  2. Choose the right category for your product - It might sound obvious but it’s very important to always choose the most specific category to sell in. Make sure if you are selling old children’s clothes, to sell in the children’s fashion category, rather than just fashion in general.    

  3. Pictures are important - Most users will not bid on items they cannot see. For best results, take photos in natural light against a neutral background and be honest about any scratches or aesthetic damage to the item.  

  4. Be as detailed as possible- Be honest about the condition of the product and be sure to note any wear and tear. By including details that can’t be seen in the image, for example if you are selling clothes noting the feel or fit of the product, you’ll help buyers decide if this is the item for them. 

  5. Look at past sold items- has a function that allows you to search for the item you want to sell and then filter the results by sold items. Here, you can view the price the item has sold for and get insight into how others have listed it.  

  6. Be realistic with pricing- consider your pricing strategy carefully following the eBay pricing recommendations. Try searching for similar items on eBay, to make sure you’re going for the right price and always ask yourself ‘would I pay this price for this item?

  7. Selling Sundays - eBay’s busiest time for buyers is Sunday evenings so schedule your listings to end around that time and choose 10-day auctions to ensure the maximum number of bids. The longer your item is listed, the more chance of people seeing it, so unless it's time-sensitive, pick 10 days. 

  8. Donate to charity - when listing your item, consider donating a percentage of the sale to Oxfam – from 10% to 100% - you can donate the funds raised from your item straight from the platform. Tens of thousands of eBay sellers do this every year, making money and feeling good at the same time! Look out for items that have a blue and yellow ribbon next to them on site, showing that they are being sold for charity next time you’re shopping too! 

For press enquiries including spokesperson opportunities, please contact:


Cat Timoney

About Oxfam 

  • Get involved in Oxfam's #SecondHandSeptember initiative by buying only second-hand clothes for 30 days or more and donating your pre-loved items. Learn more at 

  • Oxfam has more than 70 years’ experience championing second-hand. The first shop was opened in Broad Street, Oxford, in 1948 to raise money from the donations of second-hand items for the Greek famine. 

  • Oxfam is a global movement of people all working towards the same goal – an end to the injustice of poverty. Together we save and rebuild lives in disasters, help people earn a living, and speak out on the big issues, like inequality and climate change, that keep people poor. 

  • Oxfam has 561 shops in the UK. By buying and donating your clothes through Oxfam shops, you can help to protect our planet, while helping the poorest people around the world to escape the injustice of poverty. To find your local Oxfam shop go to Visit Oxfam’s Online Shop at 

  • To make a clothing donation via the post, order a free bag here: