IKEA has become the latest retail giant to try and tackle the UK’s growing pile of fabric waste with a new pilot scheme to collect old textiles in store for reuse, repair and recycling.
The Swedish retailer’s Cardiff store has today launched a trial ‘textile take-back’ programme in a bid to encourage more people to recycle their unwanted clothes and soft furnishings.
All textiles will be donated to the YMCA in Roath, Cardiff and will then either be sent for recycling or repaired and passed on to the homeless or low-income families.
IKEA is also planning to run a series of in-store workshops showing customers how to repair and ‘upcycle’ old fabrics to extend their lives.
The efforts aim to cut back on the amount of textile waste generated across the UK. According to research from waste advisory body WRAP, the UK consumes 1.7 million tonnes of textiles each year, with 620,000 tonnes of that ending up in landfill or incineration.
IKEA’s scheme follows in the footsteps of high street fashion retailers such as H&M, Sainsbury’s and Mango, which have launched in-store clothing collection banks for customer use.
Matthew Fessey, store manager at IKEA Cardiff, hopes the pilot will help its customers minimise their contribution to landfill waste. “With our vision to create a better everyday life for the many people, the textile take-back scheme in Cardiff will help our customers to live more sustainably while supporting people in need who are living in the local community,” he said in a statement.
“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and this scheme builds on our zero waste to landfill achievement last year across the UK & Ireland business,” he added. “We also want to allow our customers to upcycle their unwanted goods instead of throwing them away, minimising the contribution to landfill.”
IKEA already collects old sofas, batteries and lightbulbs in its stores across the UK. The retailer said it will consider expanding the textile collection nationwide if it receives positive customer feedback on the Cardiff pilot.