Primark launches nationwide clothes recycling programme


Primark has announced the roll-out of its nation-wide recycling programme, inviting customers to donate their pre-loved clothes, textiles, footwear and bags from any brand.

Collection boxes will be available in Primark’s 190 stores across the UK and the clothing giant has stated that all donated items will be reused, recycled or repurposed, with nothing going to landfill.

Katharine Stewart, Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Director at Primark, commented on the scheme: “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.

“This will reduce waste going to landfill and help our customers to help the environment.”

Profits from the scheme will go to UNICEF, Primark’s global charity partner, in support of its education programmes for vulnerable children around the world.

Sue Adams, Director of Partnerships at UNICEF UK, commented: “Now more than ever our collaboration with the private sector is critical.

“Coronavirus is affecting children’s lives in almost every country and UNICEF is helping to tackle the impact of this new virus around the world.

“We are here for children always and we won’t stop now.

“We are delighted that Primark has chosen to donate profits from their recycling scheme to us and help to keep children, particularly the most marginalised, learning.”

Recent research from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) has estimated that 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 like Primark’s scheme.

Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP, 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.”

The retailer has partnered with Yellow Octopus, a recycling specialist which has a ‘no landfill’ policy across the 21 countries it operates in, to implement their scheme.

Yellow Octopus 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.

The in-store recycling scheme is the latest step in the Primark Cares initiative, Primark’s commitment to a more sustainable future.

Work as part of the programme includes the expansion of Primark’s Sustainable Cotton Programme and investment in the use of sustainable fibres across all product ranges.

Primark’s famous brown paper bags have been on high streets since 2002 and all unsold clothing and samples have been donated to charity since 2010.