Odd socks – where do they come from? But more importantly: what’s the best way of getting rid of them without the guilt of sending them to landfill? Marks & Spencer says it’s come up with the solution…
Do you have lots of old clothes hanging around in the back of your wardrobe, unworn for months or years? Will you hold on to them, convinced that one day will be the day you’ll wear them again (or perhaps they’re even back in fashion)?
Maybe you’re ruthless and anything no longer regularly worn goes to your local charity shop, clothes bank or jumble sale, so they can be sold on. Or do you just chuck them in the bin if they’re past their best?
Every year we throw away around 1.2m tonnes of clothing. I’m sure many of us take wearable items to a charity shop, give them away or sell them, but what if you can’t? Having recently moved I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the odd socks, holey t-shirts and other items of clothes not in a fit state to be donated. Unfortunately, despite some research, it all ended up in landfill.
Shwop your socks, save the planet
So I was quite pleased to see M&S’s latest Plan A initiative: Shwopping. M&S is working with Oxfam to re-sell, reuse or recycle unwanted clothing. Stores will have ‘Shwop Drops’ for you to leave your donations, so the process sounds very easy.
I think this a good thing, as I live near a few M&S stores. Every item that’s dropped off will avoid landfill, and the proceeds from donations will go to good causes. But do you think this will be detrimental to charity shops? Hopefully not.
Why can’t we get ditch our duds?
But why was it so hard for me to recycle my clothes before this initiative? Well, while all the good stuff went to charity shops, the local charity recycling bank only took stuff they could re-sell. Fair enough, but that still left me with a small pile of odd socks and holey t-shirts.
Some charity clothes banks will recycle stuff they can’t sell, but the nearest one I knew definitely would was a particularly awkward journey away.
The council website pointed me to the local ‘reuse and recycling centre’ (or the tip as I still like to call it), as did Recycle Now, but without a car it was pretty hard to get to. I’ve turned up on foot before, so I know they don’t really like it.
Some councils will collect textiles along with your standard recycling collections, but ours didn’t. So all I could think to do with the stuff was throw it in the bin – which I really wasn’t happy about.
I know I’ll still donate most of my re-sellable clothes to local charity shops, but when I also have some odd socks to get rid of I’ll definitely go for a Shwop. But then I also think councils should be providing more accessible facilities for recycling textiles (and more consistent recycling, but that’s a whole other rant).
So, will you be ‘shwopping’ your old clothes? Or are there better ways to get rid of your wardrobe woes in your area?