New Shwopping Campaign at Marks & Spencer to Recycle Clothes and Save Landfills

su-may/CC BY 2.0

Shwopping: it's a new word for a not-so-new- concept. It's a combination of shopping and swapping and in England you can do it at any of the 340 Marks & Spencer stores. By donating an old piece of clothing, whether it's from M&S or not, you are helping to support OXFAM and cut down on the waste that goes to landfill sites.

To draw attention to this altruistic scheme, they have covered the walls of an old warehouse in London's hip and not so gritty east end with donated clothes.

su-may/CC BY 2.0

Ten thousand items to date and more coming. It's a pretty graphic display of the extent of our unnecessary purchasing power.

Approximately 500,000 tons or 1 billion items of clothing are sent to landfill each year - that’s 114,000 per hour and an average of 16 items per year per person.

Bonnie Alter/CC BY 2.0

To make donations of old clothing, there are shwopping boxes at all the Marks & Spencer shops and the clothing is being sent to OXFAM.
Then they will:

• Resell clothes – in shops, online, at festivals or through overseas enterprises, like Frip Ethique in Senegal.
• Reuse clothes – garments that can’t be worn again are sold to designers who restyle them for use in new collections.
• Recycle clothes – even if they don’t make the grade, old clothes are never sent to landfill. Instead, they’re sold in bulk to reprocessing companies where they could be reborn as mattress filling, carpet underlay or as a last resort, incinerated. Some of the garments will even be turned in to new fibres for use in new garments.

su-may/CC BY 2.0

Aside from looking good, some may ask why Marks & Spencer is bothering, especially when they are a huge clothing retailer. To their credit, they have been at the forefront of ethical and sustainable shopping in the UK. Their Plan A campaign ( as in, there is no Plan B), started in 2007, set out commitments to work with customers and suppliers to "combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically, and help our customers to lead healthier lifestyles."

Tags: London | Recycled Consumer Goods | Recycled Fashion

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