Joanna Lumley Goes Shwopping

H&M’s New Fashion Recycling Program

First is was M&S. Now it’s H&M. Major retailers are helping to make recycling the next big thing in fashion.

Joanna Lumley Goes Shwopping


PERK ALERT | Shopping + Swapping = Shwopping. Last spring, major British retailer Marks & Spencer joined forces with Oxfam to offer their clientele a place to drop off old clothing inside M&S stores—and they coined the term “shwopping” to describe the idea of giving away a piece of used clothing whenever you buy a new one.

Approximately 500,000 tonnes of clothing winds up in landfills every year, and M&S is hoping to help reduce this amount by donating the worn clothing they receive to Oxfam so the charity can reuse, recycle or resell it.

This winter, H&M began a similar initiative, only their recycling program offers participants a monetary incentive. Here’s how it works:

H&MRight now at selected H&M stores worldwide, every time you bring in a bag of unwanted clothes of any brand, in any quality and any condition, you will receive a $5 gift card to use on your next purchase of $30 or more (you can bring in a total of two bags every day, if you want to). Just like M&S, H&M wants to “reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry by limiting the amount of waste ending up in landfills.” Good for them. —Annabel Lee

To find out more about the H&M initiative, visit To find out more about Marks & Spencer’s shwopping program, visit

2 replies
  1. carol
    carol says:

    Although I like the idea of passing along a piece of clothing for every new piece I purchase, the H&M initiative sounds more like a marketing strategy to me. The “gift card” is merely a $5 deduction on the next purchase, thus encouraging people to buy more clothes. I think the best way to ensure we spend our clothing dollars ethically is to ensure we buy products that have been manufactured using fair trade practices and, if possible, made locally.



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