Shoppers are being offered money for recycling unwanted clothes they’ve bought from John Lewis stores and its website – even if the items are damaged.
The pilot scheme, which aims to reduce the 300,000 tonnes of clothing that is sent to landfill each year in the UK, is the first in the UK and will be trialled by more than 100 John Lewis customers within the M25 area, in conjunction with social enterprise Stuffstr.
John Atcheson, chief executive of Stuffstr, says: “We’re excited to be working with John Lewis on this new service. Every item has value, even old socks, and we want to make it as simple as possible for John Lewis customers to benefit from their unwanted clothes.”
Customers taking part in the trial who have any unwanted clothing from any of John Lewis’s 50 shops and website, can arrange to have the items collected from their home and will be paid immediately for each item regardless of its condition.
To place a value on items, the app-based service connects to data on what each customer has bought from John Lewis over the past five years. Customers can then select the products they want to sell and are instantly shown how much cash they can receive for them.
Once a customer has a minimum of £50 worth of clothing to sell, a courier will collect the clothes within a three-hour time slot. The customer will then be emailed a John Lewis e-gift card for the value of the items they have sold.
The second-hand items are then either resold, repaired so they can be resold, or recycled into new products.
Martyn White, sustainability manager at John Lewis, says: “We already take back used sofas, beds, and large electrical items such as washing machines and either donate them to charity, or reuse and recycle parts and want to offer a service for fashion products.
“It’s estimated that the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, but around 30% of that clothing has not been worn for at least a year.”