Penneys unveil clothes recycling option for 36 Irish stores

Firm signals intention to be more environmentally sustainable with take-back scheme

Penny wise: A Red C poll revealed that almost 79% of respondents would be more likely to donate used clothes if they could bring them to a store. File photograph: The Irish Times

Penny wise: A Red C poll revealed that almost 79% of respondents would be more likely to donate used clothes if they could bring them to a store. File photograph: The Irish Times

 

Fast-fashion retailer Penneys is opening clothes recycling points at all of its 36 Irish outlets as it attempts to become more environmentally sustainable, the company has announced.

The firm’s sister shops, Primark, in the United Kingdom has already launched a similar scheme.

The clothes take-back scheme will also accept footwear, bags and some other textiles – such as towels and bedsheets “from any brand, in any condition, to be resold, recycled or reimagined”, it said.

Damien O’Neill, head of sales at Penneys, said the scheme is part of the company’s ambition to become a circular and more sustainable business.

“Our new scheme in Penneys is part of our goal to help people make more sustainable choices and to recycle or donate with convenience,” he said.

“Reducing fashion waste, alongside our commitment that all our clothes will be made from recycled or more sustainably sourced materials by 2030, and how we are working to give our clothes a longer life are all important parts of how we are becoming a more circular business.”

By the numbers

Research carried out by pollster Red C for Penneys found almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of Irish shoppers are unaware that clothing and footwear can be recycled.

More than half of consumers (51 per cent) said they throw out old clothes that can’t be re-worn, while nine in 10 (91 per cent) said they recycle clothing and footwear that can be re-worn.

Almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) said they would be more likely to donate used clothes if they could bring them to a store.

The scheme is being run by recycling specialists Yellow Octopus, which aims for as many donations as possible to be worn again.

The remainder is “repurposed” into new products including insulation, toy stuffing and mattress filler.

Yellow Octopus chief executive Jack Ostrowski said the scheme will help reduce textile waste and prevent clothes from ending up in landfill sites.

“It is important for the entire fashion industry to transition from a linear to circular business model,” he said.

All profits from the Penneys scheme will go to the United Nations children’s agency Unicef.