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M&S clearout event to help divert unwanted clothing from landfill

High street retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced its first ever ‘One Day Wardrobe Clearout’ event, designed to reduce the amount of clothing sent to landfill.

The event, due to take place on Wednesday 8 September, also aims to raise £1m for Oxfam, with customers returning unwanted M&S clothing back to stores. This is a reverse of the already established Oxfam Clothes Exchange, which sees customers who donate an item of M&S clothing to an Oxfam store receive a £5 M&S voucher.

The initiative is part of the retailer’s involvement in the Prince of Wales’ ‘Start’ campaign, designed to help consumers make a start in leading a more sustainable lifestyle. 
M&S chairman Sir Stuart Rose said: “Recycling your clothes is certainly the right thing to do environmentally, but it can also help you clear out some clutter and give your wardrobe a new lease of life.”

According to M&S, around one in six consumers admits they have thrown away clothes they believe would not sell in charity shops. But through Wastesaver, Oxfam’s textile sorting facility, the charity is able to maximise the revenue from all donations it receives and minimise textiles sent to landfill.

The facility sorts and resells clothing through a number of routes, for example to designers who restyle garments and reuse fabrics in their collections. Even low-grade items not sold as clothing can be recycled as mattress filler, carpet underlay or car sound insulation

Oxfam director of trading David McCullough said: “Our partnership with M&S has brought in £3m to help us change lives around the world, at the same time as helping Oxfam shoppers save millions in their local M&S store – this unique reversal of the scheme makes it even easier to get involved.”

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