What the judges said: “This was a good example of tackling a simple, tangible yet ubiquitous issue head on using a holistic approach combining design, manufacturing and behaviour change to achieve significant results.

And: “I hope it will have a knock-on effect on other areas of retailing!”

One of the key projects M&S has worked on throughout 2009 and into 2010 is hanger reuse.

M&S uses more hangers than any UK retailer and wanted to improve its performance and change the way it operated.

The smart solution seemed to be prolonging the life cycle of a hanger and getting more carbon value from it.

The chain therefore decided to initiate a reuse programme which required a completely different operating model.

To put this in place M&S selected Mainetti as its partner, the world’s largest manufacturer and supplier of hangers who have 40 years recycling experience.

M&S’ published Plan A target was to extend hanger recycling with a customer awareness campaign to build on the 50 million we currently collect every year.

To this end the chain have used in-store promotion and changed the till-point message to encourage the customers to leave their hangers behind once they have bought garments.

It then reviewed the hangers within its business and it became apparent that after they had been collected by staff at the till point they were still generally fit for purpose and could be reused multiple times.

Under the previous scheme, the best reuse rate achieved was 15% the average re-use rate under new scheme was 68% through 2009.

Once the system is fully flushed of the old suite of hangers, M&S anticipate a reuse rate of 80% (already exceeded this level in March 2010).

Shortlisted projects in no particular order

Wiles Greenworld’s combined delivery and recycling collection scheme

AB Sustain Waitrose’s WildCare scheme

MITIE and Tesco’s lighting innovation

The Green House Hotel’s carbon neutral accommodation

Moto Hospitality’s energy reduction scheme

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