Penneys is today launching a new clothes and textile recycling scheme in its 36 stores nationwide as it aims to make it more convenient for people to donate their used clothes and textiles and help give them a second life.
This launches as new research into Irish consumers’ recycling behaviour found that a lack of drop-off locations is a barrier, with the vast majority more likely to recycle clothing and footwear if they could do so in a store.
New research published by Penneys, conducted by Red C Research & Marketing, also highlights Irish consumers are still unsure about the do’s and don’ts of recycling, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) unaware that clothing and footwear can be recycled at all.
In addition, over half (51 per cent) admitted they throw out old clothes that can’t be re-worn, while 91 per cent of people said they do recycle clothing and footwear that can be re-worn.
The Penneys Textile Takeback scheme accepts clothing, footwear, bags and even some textiles such as towels and bedsheets, from any brand in any condition via the new collection boxes in stores. These are then collected, sorted and either re-used, recycled or repurposed.
The research showed that consumers have good intentions when it comes to donating and recycling clothing and footwear; of those who said they do recycle or donate clothing, over half (56 per cent) believe they are helping others, 55 per cent believe that it is good for the environment, 63 per cent of people do it as part of spring cleaning, or to clear out items they don’t wear any more (51 per cent).
Damien O’Neill, head of sales at Penneys, said: “We’ve recently launched our bold new ambition to become a circular and more sustainable business: making it easier for customers to donate or recycle their pre-loved clothes is an important part of this. We want to help educate our customers and bring them on this journey with this and part of this is understanding what they think today about recycling old clothes. While it was very encouraging to see how many people already donate their pre-loved clothes and footwear, we’ve learned that there is still more to do to help educate customers about what can be recycled and where."
The scheme also launches today in Germany and Austria and follows it successful launch in the UK. Penneys has also taken care in selecting a responsible recycling partner: once again working with Yellow Octopus, a leading recycling specialist, who operates its UK scheme.
'No landfill' policy
It has a ‘no landfill’ policy across the 21 countries it operates in, diverting around one million garments from landfill every month. It 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 Textile Takeback scheme follows the launch of retailer’s new sustainability strategy “Primark Cares” last month as the business outlined its commitments to becoming a more sustainable and circular business. As part of this, Primark will be improving the durability of its own products and as a signatory of Textiles 2030, will be working with sustainability charity WRAP and other retailers to develop new clothing durability guidelines to collectively move the fashion industry towards a more circular economy and in turn reduce fashion waste.
All profits from the scheme will go to UNICEF, one of Primark’s global charity partners.