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M&S eco-friendly initiative shwopps 500,000 clothing
Jun '12
Following the launch six weeks ago in a clothed street in East London, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced the first results of its revolutionary clothes recycling initiative, Shwopping. Half a million used and unwanted items have been shwopped – the equivalent of eight items a minute. Every single one has been donated to Oxfam for re-sale, re-use or recycling.

This coming weekend, the retailer is calling on customers to help it reach a million before the campaign hits its two-month mark. A special ‘money off' Shwopping event on 21st – 24th June will see customers who shwop receive a £5 money-off voucher when they spend £35 or more on fashion in-store.

On hearing the results, Joanna Lumley said: “I'm thrilled that UK shoppers have become UK shwoppers. We set out to change the way people shop and put an end to clothes going into landfill – half a million items is a great start. We're determined to give every item of clothing a future and help some of the world's poorest people in the process. So, this weekend dig out that old t-shirt you haven't worn for years and give it a new lease of life. Get Shwopping!”

The offer comes as new research commissioned by M&S reveals that fast-fashion has fuelled a nation of ‘one-wear wonders'. Despite the likes of the Duchess of Cambridge and Livia Firth championing repeat wearing, a shocking one in five Britons have admitted to having binned an item after just one wear. At an average cost of £22.73 per discarded item, this equates to over £91 million of perfectly wearable items ending up in landfill every year after only being worn once.

The M&S survey of 2,200 UK consumers conducted by YouGov also revealed that:

  • 74 per cent of people have thrown unwanted clothes into the bin over the past twelve months;
  • One in five women have in excess of 100 items in their wardrobe;
  • Cheaper items are more readily disposed of with 44 per cent of one wear wonders costing less than £20;
  • One in three Britons has admitted to having binning six or more items over the past year.

Launched in April by Plan A ambassador Joanna Lumley, M&S believes Shwopping can revolutionise clothes shopping by asking consumers to adopt a ‘buy one, give one' mentality and encourage greater sustainability on the high street.

Early results reveal that Cheshunt and Buxton stores are ‘Top of the Shwops', with these stores recording the most shwops in the UK. Other top performing stores are London Colney (St Albans), Bluewater (Kent), Brooklands (Weybridge) and Meadowhall (Sheffield). The top Scottish store is Aberdeen with Wales lead by Talbot Green (near Cardiff) and Northern Ireland, the Abbey Centre store in Belfast.

The campaign aims to put an end to the one billion items currently ending up in landfill every year. All M&S clothing stores now accept used and unwanted items of clothing from any brand, all year round. The ultimate aim for M&S is to collect 350 million items a year – recycling as many clothes as it sells.

Marks & Spencer (M&S)

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