Life Goggles: Marks & Spencer and Oxfam Exchange Clothes

Editor’s note: Most weeks, we feature product reviews from our friends at Life Goggles. In this week’s post, though, Joel takes a look at British retailer Marks & Spencer’s innovative approach to dealing with products at the end of their useful lives: clothing recycling. This post was originally published on Tuesday, April 8, 2008.

ms_plana.jpgFor 6 months (that started at the end of January), Marks & Spencer (M&S) have joined forces with Oxfam to set up a clothing exchange. Designed with the dual purpose of encouraging people to recycle clothes and raise money for Oxfam’s work, customers who donate M&S clothes to Oxfam will receive a voucher Β£5/€7, valid for one month, to use with their next purchase of Β£35/€50 or more. Although buying new clothes paid for with old clothes isn’t the best way of doing things in my opinion, it’s certainly not a bad way of encouraging people to recycle clothes if they are planning on buying more anyway. And perhaps they’ll find something they like in Oxfam!

This is part of M&S’s Plan A – a five year, 100 point “eco-plan” that also includes charging for plastic bags. It’s nice to see a retailer with firm actions in place and a willingness to do them. Their five pillars, to achieve by 2012, are:

  • Become carbon neutral
  • Send no waste to landfill
  • Extend sustainable sourcing
  • Help improve the lives of people in our supply chain
  • Help customers and employees live a healthier lifestyle

What do you think?

One comment
  1. David Zetland

    Oxfam and M&S should sponsor quarterly garage sales (boot sales in the UK) on their property to get people to exchange/buy/sell stuff. Reduce REUSE and then recycle.

    Note that M&S has no business plan if people stop buying new stuff. Maybe they need an update.

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