M&S and Oxfam trial free postal donation for pre-loved clothes

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam are trialling a free postal donation service which will allow the public to donate their pre-loved clothing, regardless of quality.

The initiative, which is aimed at helping reduce the levels of textiles being sent to landfills or incineration, marks a growth in the relationship between M&S and Oxfam, who already work together on the shwopping initiative, which allows customers to donate old clothes in return for loyalty card perks.

The new initiative comes as industry figures show that every year the UK sends 1,200,000 tonnes of textiles to landfill. Of that 1.2 million tonnes, approximately 350,000 tonnes are items of clothing.

WRAP estimates that UK wardrobes contain 1.6bn items of unworn clothing. While consumers understand that second-hand clothes can be taken to a charity shop, M&S research found that a third of consumers do not know what to do with clothes that cannot be re-worn – with many simply throwing them in their household waste bin.

Tackling this issue, the retailer and charity are asking the public to donate both wearable and unwearable clothing via the free postal donation service.


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Made from 100% recycled plastic, the donation service allows for preloved clothing to be separated into two groups – those that are good quality and wearable and those that are unwearable but too good to waste. They will then be sent directly to Oxfam to be resold, reused, or recycled.

Katharine Beacham, head of materials, sustainability and packaging at M&S, said: “At M&S, we’re focused on making good quality, durable products which are made to last. In 2008, we launched Shwopping to support customers to give a second home to their preloved clothing, and we’re now expanding our partnership with Oxfam to trial a free postal service which enables customers to clear out their pre-loved clothing that they no longer need. Whether it is wearable or unwearable – we want it all!”

Lorna Fallon, trading director, Oxfam, commented: “We are so excited to be working with M&S as part of this brand-new trial.

“As well as continuing to encourage customers to donate their preloved, wearable clothing to Oxfam and help raise vital funds to tackle poverty around the world, this trial allows us to give unwearable clothes a second chance of life too.

“By recirculating our clothes, buying, and wearing second hand, we can help to reduce the demand for new clothes, which could in turn help to reduce the damage to our planet. So, by learning more about the potential of all our clothes and textiles, we can help improve the lifecycle of all of our clothing for the better.”

The postal donation bag scheme is being funded through M&S’s £1m accelerator fund for its ethical project Plan A,

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