M&S Shwop Shops

Part 1 of the new M&S ‘Shwop’ initiative took the form of a celebrity swap shop – details of which can be found in a recent article here on FashionBeans.

Part 2 of this superb initiative is the continuation of the ‘Shwop Shop’ after the celebrity event on January 24th and 25th. Marks & Spencer will be carrying the idea forward into all of their clothing outlets across the UK, whereby anyone can bring any item of clothing (M&S or not) and donate it to Oxfam via one of the drop boxes found in store.

The initiative aims to develop the consumer’s shopping habits via the notion of buying one new item and donating an old one. All clothes donated can be recycled, resold, reused (by designers who can restyle the garment into something new) or sent directly to third world countries. M&S have stated that jewellery, handbags, shoes and bras are of the highest demand. However, more conventional items such as your old jumpers or tees are still very much needed.

Head into your local M&S to get involved or to join the social network campaign. To find out more information, visit the dedicated website for this cause.

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Here are some of the frequently asked questions about the scheme, courtesy of the M&S Website:

What is shwopping?
Shwopping is about bringing an old item of clothing into an M&S store with you (even if it’s not from M&S) each time you come to buy something new. You can put your old items into a ‘Shwop Drop’ box (you’ll find these by the tills in most stores). All clothing goes to our partners Oxfam and then they either resell it in one of their stores or on their website, forward it on to those who need it in the Third World, or recycle the fibres to make new material (which businesses like M&S can make into new clothes). Absolutely nothing goes to landfill. Oxfam will use the money raised to help people around the world overcome poverty.

What can I shwop? Do I have to bring back M&S clothes?
You can shwop any item of clothing, whether M&S or non-M&S, including shoes, handbags, jewellery and bras (these are particularly valuable to Oxfam as they are very much in demand in the Third World). Remember, even if can’t be sold on, the fibres may be perfect for recycling – so don’t ignore those holey jumpers – shwop them! You can choose to shwop a single item or multiple items.

Do I need to buy something?
No, you can just bring your item/s in and drop it in the Shwop Drop.

What happens to my clothes?
All clothes shwopped at M&S are given to Oxfam. Oxfam then:

  • Resells clothes – in shops, online, at festivals or through overseas enterprises, like Frip Ethique in Senegal.
  • Reuses clothes – garments that can’t be worn again are sold to designers who restyle them for use in new collections.
  • Recycles clothes – even if they don’t make the grade, old clothes are never sent to landfill. Instead, they’re sold in bulk to reprocessing companies where they could be reborn as mattress filling, carpet underlay or as a last resort, incinerated. Some of the garments will even be turned in to new fibres for use in new garments.
  • Not a stitch is wasted – every penny raised helps fight poverty around the world.

What is the issue with clothes going into landfill?
Approximately 500,000 tonnes or 1 billion items of clothing are sent to landfill each year – that’s 114,000 per hour. Neither the planet’s landfill sites, nor its resources, are infinite and we know that placing unwanted clothing items into the bin (and therefore into landfill) when they could be recycled or re-used – is not sustainable. We hope this project will help see a move away from ‘disposable’ fashion where we throw away clothes when we’ve had enough of them.