5 places you can recycle your unwanted clothes and get something back yourself
Summer is finally here and for lots of us that means updating our summer wardrobe.
But before you simply bin the clothes you’re bored of, consider your options.
The amount of clothing that’s chucked away is astounding: Britain sent over 235 million items of clothing to landfill this spring alone.
How we shop and dispose of our unwanted clothes is a huge, epidemic problem that is negatively impacted the environment all over the world – but it’s especially bad in Britain.
So, what can we do to make a difference?
We’ve rounded up five, well-known high street brands that are trying to tackle the problem by giving something back, helping you in the process:
According to H&M, as much as 95% of clothes thrown away could have been re-worn or re-cycled, which is why it launched it’s garment collection scheme in 2013.
It doesn’t matter what state your clothes are in – old with holes, new and barely worn, everything is collected. The clothes don’t even have to be from H&M, it really can be anything.
Bring your unwanted clothes to your local store, put them in one of H&M’s clothing recycling bins and you’ll receive a £5 voucher to spend in store (FYI. there is a £25 minimum spend with the voucher).
Once you’ve dropped your clothes off in a store, H&M’s partner I:CO collects and sorts them into three categories:
Rewear – clothing that can be worn again will be sold as second hand clothes.
Reuse – old clothes and textiles will be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths.
Recycle – everything else is turned into textile fibres, and used for things like insulation
M&S and Oxfam
M&S and Oxfam launched a textile sustainability campaign in 2008 called Schwopping.
Take your unwanted clothes into either M&S or Oxfam and you’ll get a £5 M&S voucher in return (there is a minimum spend of £35 but the vouchers can also be used with Sparks offers, which is 20% off everything).
Since the partnership began, M&S and Oxfam have recycled over 28 million items of clothing, and estimated worth of £19 million raised for Oxfam.
&Other Stories runs two recycling programs – one for beauty and one for textiles. Take your old &OtherStories beauty bottles in and receive a 10% recycling voucher. This goes for everything including body wash pump bottles and nail vanishes.
Returning &OtherStories nail vanishes and getting 10% off the next one has gained a bit of a cult following. They’ve got some of the best colours on the high street and you can actually make a difference when buying them.
Similarly, with their textile recycling program – take your old clothes in and you’ll also receive a 10% recycling voucher to be spent in store.
Zara’s ‘Join Life’ scheme is similar to H&M’s recycling scheme. Take your unwanted clothes – literally from any brand, not just Zara, and recycle them in the clothes bins provided in Zara stores across the country.
Zara in Spain even goes as far as picking up your clothes from home.
All of the items of clothing are collected and donated in aid of non-profit organisations, and they’re very hot on recycling cotton.
Set up in the nineties, Nike’s ‘Re-use A Shoe’ program allows you to take your old sneaks into a Nike store, where they are recycled and turned into Nike Grind, a material used to create athletic and play ground surfaces.
More than 1.5 million shoes are collected each year, and since the scheme started more than 28 million pairs of shoes have been recycled.
Other brands such as Adidas, ASOS, Pull&Bear and Bershka have all pledged to reduce items of clothes going to landfill by incentivising campaigns by 2020.
So remember, don’t throw your clothes in the bin, either take them to a charity shop or to one of the above, and be rewarded for your effort.
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