Here’s a frankly horrifying statistic: do you know how many items of clothing are thrown away in the UK every hour? Around 114,000, according to Marks and Spencer. That’s why, in 2008, one of the country’s most respected High Street brands teamed up with Oxfam on the Shwopping initiative, to collect in unwanted garments and use them to make a real difference. Since the campaign began, over 24 million items have been donated in M&S stores and Oxfam shops, worth an estimated £16 million to the charity.
I’m as guilty as the next girl of indulging in a fast fashion fix. For somebody who tries her best to live relatively ethically, I have a terrible online shopping habit – and I’m even worse for forgetting to send back things that don’t fit or aren’t suitable. The result is a chest of drawers and a wardrobe that are bursting at the seams, in some cases with things that haven’t fit since the day I brought them home. “I’ll slim into it someday,” I tell myself, as I push it to the back of the wardrobe.
One thing I don’t like to do, however, is send clothes to landfill – which is why the Shwopping initiative is one I can really get behind. Simply pop your unwanted clothes in the Shwop boxes located by the tills in most M&S stores or donate them to any Oxfam shop. Oxfam will then resell it in one of their stores or on their website, forward it on to those in need or recycle the fibres to make new material. The money raised is used by Oxfam to help people around the world overcome poverty.
Hands up who else didn’t know that you could shop for secondhand clothing online with Oxfam by the way? Definitely not something I needed to learn while I was attempting to have a clearout…
Starting today, Oxfam is asking the nation to join them in decluttering their wardrobes and donating the spoils to the Shwopping campaign. Take 20 minutes out of your day, locate the things that you no longer wear and that somebody else might love – and donate them in your local Oxfam shop or M&S store. And, if you fancy helping us to spread the word, take a picture of yourself in front of your tidy wardrobe with your donated clothes on the floor and share on social media using the hashtag #WardrobeShwop to encourage others to do the same.
I might have cheated somewhat, as my wardrobe still isn’t tidy. But hey – that just means there’s scope for a little more shwopping, right?
It’s that easy, and for such a good cause. Find out more on Oxfam’s website.