North London Waste Authority launches virtual clothes exchanges with Love Not Landfill

North London Waste Authority (NLWA) is combating textile waste with its new campaign that will allow residents to swap unwanted clothes in a Covid-friendly manner.

NLWA has been working with London Waste and Recycling Board’s (LWARB) sustainable fashion campaign, ‘Love Not Landfill’, on the ‘Stop & Swap’ initiative.

NLWA fashion influencersStop & Swap will involve online clothes swap events and talks on social media platform Instagram Live, with the overall goal of encouraging North London locals to reduce the amount of unwanted clothing going to landfill.

Hosting the functions online allows the continuation of conscious consumption, even with Covid-19 restrictions making swapping and shopping more challenging. The virus already forced NLWA to revise its original Residual Waste Reduction Plan back in March.

This is another step towards North London becoming more environmentally conscious, with the city’s first ‘Low Plastic Zone’ having been introduced on a street in Islington, where over three-quarters of businesses in the area have reduced their single-use plastic usage.

Chair of NLWA, Cllr Clyde Loakes, said: “NLWA is committed to helping people find ways to live more sustainably, and even though the pandemic is creating great challenges, we cannot afford to lose momentum on tackling the climate emergency.

“We have had great results with previous textile reuse and recycling campaigns but too much clothing is still ‘thrown away’ when it is no longer wanted. With traditional clothes swaps currently not possible, teaming up with Love Not Landfill has allowed us to create a fresh, online experience for young Londoners, enabling them to update their wardrobes for free, whilst helping the planet – and staying safe. This is a real first for London.”

Hannah Carter, Campaign Manager at Love Not Landfill, said: “We’re delighted to be able to team up with NLWA to extend the reach of clothes swapping across north London. Stop & Swap puts the issue of clothes and climate change into perspective and offers young north Londoners an easy solution that also gets them “free” clothes. What’s not to love?”

Influencers and fashion journalists, including TV presenter and sustainable style influencer Sabrina Grant, fashion journalist Lauren Bravo and activist Ben Pechey, are also donating items to each of the nine swaps taking place.

The swaps will be held between 11 November 2020 and 10 February 2021. At 6pm an Instagram Live will be held where the influencers will be interviewed and then the two hours of swapping will start at 6.30 on the clothes swapping and sharing app, ‘Nuw’.

The Stop & Swap campaign follows a dramatic increase in textile waste that came after the first national lockdown brought about by Covid-19 – in June, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) warned that the UK was on track to clear out 67 million clothes after the lockdown ended.

This forecast gave impetus to behaviour change charity Hubbub to call on the UK Government to introduce a charge for every non-recyclable item of clothing sold, as part of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery programme.

You can register for the event on the NLWA website if you live in a North London postcode. The app will be free for 33 days, and once you choose an item you would like to swap you can then arrange a contact-free exchange with the person you are swapping with.


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