A new trial being launched by retailer Marks and Spencer and Oxfam will allow consumers to donate unwearable but too-good-too waste clothing, alongside their preloved wearable clothing, via a simple online postal donation service.

It is estimated that UK homes contain 1.6 billion items of unworn clothing which have the potential to be used, re-used or recycled. However new research conducted on behalf of M&S, found that one third of the UK doesn’t know what to do with clothes that cannot be re-worn – with three in 10 consumers admitting to disposing of unwearable clothes in their household waste bin.

To help tackle the problem, from today, consumers will be able to recycle their preloved clothing from the comfort of their own home by ordering a pre-paid postal donation bag from the Oxfam website.

The bag, which is made from 100% recycled plastic, allows for preloved clothing to be separated into two groups – those that are good quality and wearable and those that are unwearable – but equally too good to waste – and return them for free via a local courier where they will then go directly to Oxfam to be resold, reused, or recycled.

Katharine Beacham, Head of Materials, Sustainability and Packaging at M&S, commented:

“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 at 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 trial forms part of the ‘ACT Project’ which is being led by the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT). The UKFT is working to develop a new framework towards a UK-based automated-sorting and pre-processing facility (ATSP) that will recycle clothing unsuitable for re-sale to make new clothing which can be sold in the UK to create a completely circular system.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here