Published On: Wed, Mar 16th, 2011 at 12:04pm

Spring clean your wardrobe for Charity

Marks & Spencer in Scotland today calls on customers to help in donating 500,000 unwanted or unused clothes and accessories to stores on 24th March for its first Spring ‘One Day Wardrobe Clearout’ event, in partnership with Oxfam.

The call to action comes as new research shows that charities are missing out on as much as £1.5 billion in revenue a year – three times the annual income of some of Britain’s biggest charities – as clothes are thrown out instead of being donated to charity shops.

The national clearout event, will help significantly reduce the amount of clothing going to landfill and raise crucial funds for Oxfam.

TV presenter and singer Michelle McManus will launch the campaign at M&S’ Braehead store next week (24th March, 10.00am) by donating items from her own wardrobe.

In total, 367 M&S stores are taking part and every customer that donates will receive a £5 money off voucher when they spend £35 on fashion in store, redeemable until 30th April. An advertising campaign to promote the event starring X-Factor judge and M&S model Dannii Minogue launches tomorrow.

There are 9,000 charity shops and numerous local authority recycling banks in the UK, yet despite this we are still throwing away 391 million items of clothing every year. These are clothes that could be generating much needed income for good causes.

The M&S poll of over 2,200 people also revealed that:
· When it comes to throwing away clothes, men are the worst culprits as they are twice as likely to throw clothes in the bin compared with women;
· People in Northern Ireland throw away the most clothes – on average each binning 10 items of clothing every year;
· People living in the South West and East of England throw away the fewest, but still send an average of seven items to landfill every year;
· One in five of us admit that they are more likely to keep an item of clothing they know they probably won’t wear, than donate it to a charity shop;
· 28 per cent of women would consider donating their wedding dress to charity shop;
· Our busy lifestyles are a major factor in us not recycling more clothing with a third of people citing time as a reason for not donating more;
· Three quarters of people say that the economic downturn hasn’t changed how much they donate to charities and 15 per cent even say they are giving more since the start of the credit crunch.

Laura Mitchell, Braehead M&S store manager, said: “It’s clear that far too many clothes still go to landfill when they could be making money for charities and helping the environment. We’re calling on our customers to donate their clothes: it’s an easy way to make a difference and you get a great M&S money-off voucher.”

Oxfam’s Director of Trading David McCullough said: “The M&S and Oxfam Clothes Exchange has been an incredibly successful partnership for us. The generosity of the thousands of M&S customers who have donated to our shops has helped us raise more than £3.5million to support our ongoing work fighting poverty around the world. The Spring wardrobe clearout will help us raise even more money, and for anyone that can’t make it on the day they can still take unwanted clothing to their nearest Oxfam shop all year-round.”

For more information visit the M & S website or the Oxfam website

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