Retailers M&S and Next have been among the first to trial a new recycling scheme launched by Oxfam that allows employees to donate unwanted products such as clothing at offices and workplaces across the UK, which will then be collected by the charity. 

'Oxfam Collects' aims to raise an extra GBP1m (US$1.6m) through the service by working with up to 100 companies in the next 12 months and hopes to sign up around 10,000 donors. It also intends to report back to every company and individual who donates through the scheme to tell them how much their unwanted goods have raised and illustrate what this amount of money could fund in the charity’s work.

“This scheme is a new and innovative way for companies to help reduce the amount of clothing that goes to landfill,” explains Adam Elman, head of Plan A delivery at Marks & Spencer. “It works for us as a company, it's a great way to engage employees and, of course, it's a fantastic way to raise money for Oxfam, so everyone wins."

Since the credit crunch hit the UK, donations of stock to Oxfam shops have seen a double-figure fall: in 2008, donations fell by 12%, and this decline has increased to 15% in the last year. At the same time as the fall in donations, sales of donated goods are up 3% year-on-year, so the need for stock is greater than ever.

Recent research by the charity indicates that the most important factors when making a charity shop donation are ease and convenience. Oxfam Collects has been set up to tackle this head-on by making donating to the charity as convenient as possible.