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M&S announces launch of recycled clothing labels

Retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has today announced that it will now use polyester made from recycled PET bottles for 300 million of its clothing labels instead of virgin polymer.

The recycled labels will also carry a new message saying “Recycle with Oxfam” to encourage customers to use the M&S and Oxfam clothing exchange which was launched in 2008.

The new labels will be seen in items of M&S clothing from early next year and will cover two thirds of M&S’ washing and care instruction labels.  Approximately two million recycled plastic drinks bottles will be used every year to make the labels.

M&S general merchandise packaging technical director Gordon Henman said: “This is a fantastic example of how a small step can make a big difference. Using an environmentally friendly material to make a 4cm x 2cm care label makes a big impact when you multiply it by 300 million.”

To make the labels, PET bottles are collected through the recycling system, granulated and washed. They are then melted and turned into yarn by forcing the liquid through a shaped die. The yarn is then woven into a care label and printed.

The M&S clothing exchange rewards customers with a money off voucher to use at M&S for every item of unwanted M&S clothing they take to Oxfam.

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