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FTSE 100 Landsec responds to calls for fashion tax with launch of textile recycling scheme

27 February 2019

Landsec has responded to calls from the government to place a levy on fashion items by mobilising an alternative plan which focuses on collaboration rather than taxation.

The FTSE 100 property firm will launch a recycling scheme for used clothes at Westgate, Oxford, where customers will be able to donate items to an interactive recycling point, specifically for clothes, within the centre. If successful, the scheme will be replicated across Landsec’s shopping destinations.

The trial scheme, ‘spring clean, think green’, will launch on 4th March and run for a month. Landsec will be experimenting with different methods of incentivising consumers to recycle garments, including weekly competitions. The success of the scheme will be measured by the number of people donating items and the total weight of the clothes. The stall will educate consumers on the importance of recycling textiles and will show examples of the type of garments donated materials could be turned into.

Landsec aims to demonstrate that action can be taken to protect the environment, without placing the retail sector under further financial strain.

Ailish Christian-West, Head of Property, retail portfolio, Landsec, commented: “Michael Gove is right to be concerned about the impact fast fashion has on the environment, but now is not the time to introduce a new levy in bricks and mortar retail. Both retailers and retail landlords undoubtedly have a role to play in reducing the amount of textiles which end up incinerated or sent to landfill. At Landsec, we believe that through innovation and collaboration, we can make a significant and positive impact without placing an additional financial strain on the retail industry. We will be measuring the impact we have and look forward to sharing our results with the minister.”

Tom Byrne, sustainability manager, Landsec, said: “Clothing banks have existed for a number of years, but what we feel has been missing is a landlord-led initiative which can really drive up recycling rates in key retail destinations; our kiosk will bring the experience of recycling to life for customers and we’re hopeful that a less passive waste strategy will translate into greater enthusiasm for recycling textiles.”

The ‘spring clean, think green’ scheme reflects Landsec’s belief that the UK’s retail industry is a force for good. It follows similar campaigns by Landsec which have focussed on collaborating with retailers to increase the use of reusable bottles through the creation of water refill points, a coffee cup recycling initiative, and the installation of solar panel systems to the roofs of shopping destinations.

The recycling scheme will be operated by I:Collect, a global leader in the collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of used clothing.

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