Primark is rolling out a nationwide recycling scheme in the UK, encouraging shoppers to donate their pre-loved clothes, bags and footwear from any brand to be “reused, recycled or repurposed” through its in-store recycling boxes.
The “Re-loved” collection boxes will be available in 190 Primark stores across the UK and have been designed to make recycling more convenient for shoppers.
The initiative has been launched in response to calls from the non-profit WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) for people to protect charity shops from the great number of donations expected as lockdown eases.
Peter Maddox, director at WRAP said in a statement: “Our research shows most people prefer to donate or recycle their unwanted clothes, and often opt for charity shops as their favoured route. With shops just beginning to reopen, that can risk overwhelming charities with an influx of donations.
“Passing on clothes through retail stores is an effective, and often underused way to donate clothes. Primark is a signatory of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, and this new in-store recycling scheme for clothes gives people even more options, and will help make recycling clothes easier with drop off boxes in stores on high streets and retail hubs across the UK.”
The scheme has been designed to prevent items from going to landfills, with profits also going to UNICEF to support its education programmes for vulnerable children around the world.
In addition, Primark has teamed up with Yellow Octopus to implement its recycling scheme, which is targeted at taking as many donations as possible to be worn again, with the remainder being repurposed into new products such as insulation, toy stuffing and mattress fillers.
Primark said the launch of its in-store recycling scheme is a move part of its wider Primark Care Initiative, which also includes expanding the Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme and investing in the use of sustainable fibres across its entire collection.
Primark sustainability director Katherine Stewart said: “We know people don’t always find it easy to recycle their clothes, textiles and shoes. And we know people have had big clear outs during lockdown.”
“Now is the perfect time to be launching our in-store recycling programme, making it convenient for customers to give a second life to items from their wardrobe that they no longer need.
“This will reduce waste going to landfill and help our customers to help the environment.
“With the profits going to UNICEF’s important childhood education programmes we are also supporting our global charity partner in their work.”