The scheme launches in all 190 Primark UK stores

The scheme launches in all 190 Primark UK stores

Value fashion retailer Primark is rolling out a nationwide clothing, textiles and footwear recycling scheme in a bid to divert more from landfill.

Collection boxes will be available in Primark's 190 stores across the UK from today (29 July) and all donated items – which can be from any brand – will be reused, recycled or repurposed, with nothing going to landfill. Profits from the Primark In-Store Recycling Scheme will go to the retailer's global charity partner UNICEF. 

The latest step in its Primark Cares initiative, the scheme launches as recent research from Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates more than a third of the population have had a clear out of unwanted textiles and clothing while at home on lockdown.

WRAP is also urging people to protect charity shops from an influx of donations, by contacting them before turning up with donations and using other options including in-store collections such as Primark's.

To implement the scheme, the retailer has partnered with recycling specialist Yellow Octopus which has a no landfill policy across the 21 countries it operates in, diverting around one million garments from landfill every month. The company aims for as many donations as possible to be worn again, with the remainder being repurposed into new products such as insulation, toy stuffing and mattress fillers.

"We know people don't always find it easy to recycle their clothes, textiles and shoes. And we know people have had big clear-outs during lockdown. Now is the perfect time to be launching our in-store recycling programme, making it convenient for customers to give a second life to items from their wardrobe that they no longer need," says Katharine Stewart, ethical trade and environmental sustainability director at Primark. "This will reduce waste going to landfill and help our customers to help the environment."

WRAP director Peter Maddox added: "Our research shows most people prefer to donate or recycle their unwanted clothes, and often opt for charity shops as their favoured route. With shops just beginning to reopen, that can risk overwhelming charities with an influx of donations. Passing on clothes through retail stores is an effective, and often underused way to donate clothes. Primark is a signatory of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, and this new in-store recycling scheme for clothes gives people even more options, and will help make recycling clothes easier with drop off boxes in stores on high streets and retail hubs across the UK."

Earlier this month, Primark said it is placing GBP1bn (US$1.25bn) worth of orders for the autumn/winter season after reporting an "encouraging" start to post-lockdown trading.