Joanna Lumley goes Shwopping as new face of Plan A

Joanna Lumley has become the new worldwide ambassador for Marks & Spencer's Plan A programme as she unveils an initiative that aims to take textiles recycling to another level.

The actress and campaigner has teamed up with M&S and Oxfam to launch Shwopping – an in-store takeback scheme for unwanted clothes.

Under the scheme, all M&S clothing stores will accept unwanted clothing of any brand from shoppers in a bid to create a ‘buy one, give one’ culture on the UK high street.

Through Oxfam, the clothes will be resold, reused or recycled and the money raised will go to help people living in poverty. M&S has pledged that not one single item will go to landfill under the scheme.

The retailer said its ultimate aim was to recycle as many clothes as it sells – 350 million a year. Earlier today (April 26) Lumley she joined M&S CEO Marc Bolland and Oxfam CEO Barbara Stocking at a street covered in unwanted clothes in East London to highlight the problem of clothes going to landfill.

Almost 10,000 items of clothing go to landfill every five minutes. One billion items of clothing a year are sent to landfill, one in four items sold in the UK.

Bolland said: “We’re leading a change in the way we all shop for clothing, forever. This is the right, responsible move for the UK’s biggest clothing retailer.

“We want to get back one garment for every one we sell. For us that’s 350 million a year. It is a big number, but with our customers’ help, we will do it.”

Lumley added: “I’m really excited to be working with M&S and have long admired Plan A. Their latest initiative, Shwopping, is a big, bold campaign and a first for the high street.

“Remember we used to just throw away plastic bottles. Now we recycle them without even thinking about it. We need to do the same with clothing. Bring in something old; buy something new. Swap and shop. It’s that simple.”

M&S is also hosting its Plan A supplier conference today where it will report progress smade against its 180 commitments to over 1,200 delegates.

Maxine Perella

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