Climate Action

John Lewis trials buyback scheme to help combat clothing waste

John Lewis has launched a new sustainable fashion buyback scheme to help combat the growing amount of clothes ending up in landfill.

  • 21 October 2019
  • Rachel Cooper

John Lewis has launched a new sustainable fashion buyback scheme to help combat the growing amount of clothes ending up in landfill.

The department store will introduce the new initiative in their Oxford store, where they will invite customers to return preloved clothes in exchange for payment per item.

The ‘BuyBack’ trial will accept all preloved items from any womenswear and menswear brands stocked at John Lewis & Partners from the 20,000 local ‘my John Lewis’ members invited to take part.

The customers are allowed a maximum of three pieces of clothing and they will receive £3 per item which can then be spent with John Lewis or Waitrose in shops or online.

This trial at the Oxford store started at the beginning of October 2019 and runs for six weeks.  

John Lewis say that the initiative has been created to make it easy for customers to responsibly dispose of any unwanted clothes bought at John Lewis and to address the ‘increasing volumes of clothing being sent to landfill’.

Stephen Cawley, John Lewis Partner and Head of Sustainability, said: “Our customers are becoming increasingly aware of their actions on the environment, so we want to make it easy for them to ensure the products they buy from us have a long life after they no longer have use for them.”

Fast-fashion has emerged as an environmentally damaging ‘hobby’ with recent reports outing the industry as being wasteful and unsustainable.

According to WRAP UK, the value of unused clothing in wardrobes has been estimated at around £30 billion. On top of that, an estimated £140 million worth of clothing goes to landfill in the UK each year.

Julie Blake, Head of Branch at John Lewis & Partners, Oxford added; “We know from the success of the ‘Waitrose Unpacked’ trial in Oxford that there is a lot of local support for sustainability initiatives. We’re looking forward to running this trial and rewarding loyal customers for ensuring pre-loved clothes can be enjoyed and appreciated once more.” 

This follows Asda opening a pop up charity shop in the Milton Keynes branch to promote sustainable fashion. The ‘Re-Loved’ charity clothing pop up shop featured donated second hand clothes from a number of different brands.