Posted May 25th, 2012 by Stephen Roper

Popular high street retailer Marks and Spencer have recently launched a new clothes box recycling scheme in partnership with charity, Oxfam.

Over 10,000 items of clothing are thrown in the bin every 5 minutes which amounts to over a billion items a year. Over 500,000 tonnes of these items will end up at landfill where they will take many years to fully break down causing further damage to the environment.

The new scheme will allow people to drop off their unwanted clothing in a box at any M&S store. The store has called the new scheme ‘Shwopping’ which means taking an old item when you go shopping to put in one of their ‘Shwop Boxes.’ Around 1200 new ‘Shwop Boxes’ have been put in their UK shops at the till points, this works out at around 2 per store.

Any old clothes that are collected in the boxes will be passed to Charity, Oxfam who will either sell good quality goods in in their shops or recycle any that are of bad quality. The charity already gives people a £5 voucher if they bring any unwanted M&S clothes into their shops, this scheme has already boosted donations by 10 million items.

Actress, Joanna Lumley who has been fronting the new campaign and advert for the store, said “Everyone used to throw plastic bottles in the bin with a second thought, now most are recycled correctly, the same has to be done for items of clothing.”

The retailer has set a target on the amount of goods they want to collect each year to match the number of clothing items they sell which is 350 million a year. They hope that this new initiative will change the way we all shop forever.

The Shwopping campaign is part of Marks and Spencer’s Plan A Sustainability programme which aims to meet 180 green commitments by 2018.

You can find out more about the ‘Shwopping’ revolution and join their Facebook group here.

Other Places to Recycle Clothes

If you don’t want to donate your old items to charity there are a few places that you can sell clothes and maybe even make a couple of quid for yourself. If you have designer goods that you have barely worn you could put them on eBay or try a local car boot sale.

Any other clothes, footwear or accessories you want to get rid of you could send to Clothes for Cash. This looks like a great site, they offer 60 per KG which could work out at up to £18 per sack, free courier collection and fast Paypal payments.

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