Retailer Marks & Spencer says giving its customers the option not to take coat hangers home with them has led to 100m hangers being recycled in the last six months - as well as raising GBP370,000 (US$585,000) for children's charity UNICEF.

The hangers that shoppers leave behind are either used again in store or recycled.

Kate Bostock, executive director of clothing and home at M&S, says the scheme is "simple, but hugely effective. For every customer that doesn't take a hanger, the environment benefits and one of the world's leading charities benefits."

M&S donates GBP0.5 for every GBP1 saved from hanger recycling to UNICEF, to fund a new project in two locations within Bangladesh that provides vulnerable children with basics such as clean water, education and healthcare.

The hanger recycling scheme is part of the M&S Plan A ethical and sustainability programme. Any unwanted hangers that are shipped back to M&S garment manufacturers to be reused are 'back freighted' - transported in M&S containers that would have previously been travelling back to their destination empty.