John Lewis trials buy-back clothing scheme to cut landfill waste

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John Lewis buy back

John Lewis has commenced a trial for a buy-back service that allows customers to sell unwanted clothes regardless of condition back to the department store to help reduce landfill waste.

More than 100 customers are currently trying out the scheme, which aims to cut UK landfill waste by about 300,000 tonnes each year.

Using an app, customers can select the products they want to sell and are immediately shown the amount they can receive for them.

Once they have minimum of £50 worth of clothing to sell, a courier will collect their products within three hours.

Items bought back are then either resold, mended so they can be resold or recycled into new products.

The app-based service also links to a customer’s John Lewis account data on what they have bought from its 50 stores or website over the past five years.

The trial has so far seen the retailer pay £4 for a pair of broken cashmere gloves bought in 2015, £8 for a pencil skirt bought in 2014, and £11 for a top bought in 2016.

If the trial is successful, the next stage would offer customers an option to donate the money to charity.

“We already take back used sofas, beds and large electrical items such as washing machines and either donate them to charity or reuse and recycle parts, and want to offer a service for fashion products,” John Lewis sustainability manager Martyn White said.

“It’s estimated that the average UK household owns around £4000 worth of clothes, but around 30 per cent of that clothing has not been worn for at least a year, most commonly because it no longer fits.

“We hope that by making it as easy as we possibly can for customers to pass on clothing that they’re no longer wearing we can ensure that the maximum life is extracted from items bought from us.”

John Lewis developed the scheme with Stuffstr, a social enterprise that partners with retailers to buy back used items and recycle them.

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