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Marks & Spencer customers rewarded for recycling

August 7, 2009 at 4:31 pm

Marks & Spencer and Oxfam have introduced a new scheme to try to persuade people to recycle more of their soft furnishings rather than sending them to the tip. The ‘Soft Furnishings Exchange Programme’ has just been launched by the high-street store and the charity, and it will hopefully prove popular with shoppers.

The system is simple. Shoppers who bought soft furnishings from M&S in the past can now take them into an Oxfam shop instead of throwing them away, and they will be given vouchers in return. Each voucher will be worth £5, and it will allow the customer to make purchases on any homeware, clothes or beauty products in any M&S store. The vouchers will be valid for one month after they have been handed out, and they can only be used with a purchase over £35.

This scheme follows on from the successful clothes exchange programme that Oxfam and M&S introduced last year. So far, the scheme has managed to prevent 3 million garments from going to landfill sites, as well as raising £2 million for Oxfam. The scheme has proved hugely popular because it has allowed customers not only to help the environment but also to donate to charity at the same time.

According to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), each year one million tonnes of textiles end up in landfill sites instead of being recycled. So if this scheme can help to reduce that number then it will surely be hailed as a success.

David McCullough, the director of trading at Oxfam, said that they are trying to make it “even easier” for people to recycle their textiles and to “make it curtains for poverty”.

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