Resource Use

Half a million clothes ‘Shwopped’ in first six weeks of M&S campaign


Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced that in the first six weeks of its ‘Shwopping’ campaign, over 500,000 items of clothing were brought into stores for donation to Oxfam.

M&S announced yesterday (17 June) that half a million used and unwanted clothing items have been ‘shwopped’ (donated for recycling) since the inauguration of the Shwopping campaign, fronted by British actress Joanna Lumley, in April.

The campaign (which, despite the name, doesn't actually combine swapping with shopping), aims to put an end to the one billion items ending up in landfill every year and collect as many items of clothing for recycling as it sells (currently 350 million items a year). In order to do this, all M&S clothing stores have adopted Shwop bins, which accept used and unwanted items of clothing from any brand, all year round.

Early results reveal that Cheshunt and Buxton stores recorded the highest amount of clothes shwopped, with stores in London Colney (St Albans), Bluewater (Kent), Brooklands (Weybridge) and Meadowhall (Sheffield) all seeing a high level of Shwopping as well. Shwopping in Scotland was most successful at the Aberdeen store, in Wales at the Talbot Green store (near Cardiff) and in Northern Ireland at the Abbey Centre store in Belfast.

M&S is now calling on customers to help it double this number in order to reach a target of one million pieces of clothing shwopped before the campaign reaches its two-month mark at the end of the month. A special 'money off' Shwopping event will be held at all M&S stores (except Simply Food stores) over 21-24 June and will see customers who drop their unwanted clothes off at the Shwop bins receive a £5 money-off voucher. This voucher can be used when spending £35 or more on fashion in-store (excepting school wear) and is valid until 28 June.

Joanna Lumley praised the success of the campaign so far, saying: “I'm thrilled that UK shoppers have become UK shwoppers. We set out to change the way people shop and put an end to clothes going into landfill – half a million items is a great start. We're determined to give every item of clothing a future and help some of the world's poorest people in the process. So, this weekend dig out that old t-shirt you haven't worn for years and give it a new lease of life. Get Shwopping!”

The offer comes after a new survey by YouGov, commissioned by M&S, revealed that fast fashion has fuelled a nation of ‘one-wear wonders'. The survey talked to 2,200 UK consumers between 16-18 April 2012, and found that one in five Britons admitted to having binned an item of clothing after just one wear. At an average cost of £22.73 per discarded item, this equates to over £91 million of good condition clothes ending up in landfill every year.

The M&S survey also revealed that:

  • 74 per cent of people have thrown unwanted clothes into the bin over the past twelve months
  • One in five women have in excess of 100 items in their wardrobe
  • Cheaper items are more readily disposed of with 44 per cent of one-wear wonders costing less than £20
  • One in three Britons has admitted to having binned six or more items over the past year

Launched in April by Plan A (M&S’s sustainability programme) ambassador Joanna Lumley, Shwopping aims to revolutionise clothes shopping by asking consumers to adopt a ‘buy one, give one' mentality and encourage greater sustainability on the high street, according to M&S.

Further information on the M&S Shwopping campaign and June offer can be found on the Marks & Spencer website.