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Marks and Spencer's Plan A makes "good progress" - COMMENT UPDATE

Retailer Marks & Spencer has made good progress in its Plan A programme to tackle climate change and reduce waste.

M&S launched Plan A two years ago and by 2012 it aims to ensure none of its clothing or packaging end up in landfill.

A statement in its preliminary financial results for 2008/09 said: In waste we, together with Oxfam, saved over 3.2 million garments from going to landfill, raising £1.9m for the charity. In sustainable raw materials we have increased our usage of recycled plastic bottles to 37 million, shifting their use from clothes to recycled polyester filling for home products.

A M&S spokeswoman said: Carrier bag charging was successful in changing behaviour by encouraging people to use less bags very soon after launch (May 08) and the overwhelming majority of customers reacted well. By mid July 2008, only two months in, with our customers' support, we had already reduced carrier bag usage by 80 per cent and had raised more than £200,000 for the charity Groundwork through donating all of 1.85 pence profit from the sale of each bag to them.

The spokeswoman added that a year on M&S customers have raised £1.2m for environmental charity Groundwork.

Other key achievements:
* During the last audited year M&S reduced the amount of waste in its stores, offices and warehouse sent to landfill by 6 per cent;
* M&S also recycled 75 per cent of its construction and store fit-out waste;
* It reduced the prices of food items which go past their display-life that evening a move that could cut food waste by 10 per cent;
* M&S introduced the UKs biggest clothes recycling scheme with Oxfam, recycled 122 million clothing hangers and 11 million Christmas cards; 
* It has put information for its customers about materials and recycling on nearly 80 per cent of its food packaging.



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