Charity Oxfam has reported “incredibly positive” results from its secondhand store and ASDA has cited success in selling surplus or secondhand items.
Oxfam opened its first ever ‘superstore’ charity shop in Oxford on 7 September, whilst ASDA recently ran a ‘Re-Loved’ pop-up shop for four weeks in its Milton Keynes supermarket.
WRAP estimate that £140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year, whilst circular economy initiatives are also encouraging people to choose used household items such as furniture and appliances.
The new Oxfam store – based at a business park on the outskirts of Oxford – is twelve times the size of the average Oxfam shop.
It allows customers to buy not just the clothes and homewares generally found in a charity shop, but also second-hand white goods, furniture and vintage products.
After a month of trading, the superstore is proving successful too. Julie Neeve, Oxfam superstore project manager, told letsrecycle.com today (9 September): “The response we’ve had from the public since we opened a month ago has been amazing and the support we’ve had from the local area has been incredibly positive.
“The response we’ve had from the public since we opened a month ago has been amazing and the support we’ve had from the local area has been incredibly positive.”
“We’re so grateful for all the items donated and products that have been purchased, all of which go towards fighting poverty around the world.”
The project aims to lift secondhand shopping to a new level, according to Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB.
He said: “The huge treasure trove of items on offer make it a destination shopping experience but it is so much more than a shop.
“It will be a social hub at the heart of the community which we hope will give people a greater sense of the incredible difference they can make by shopping, donating or volunteering at Oxfam.”
Alongside the selection of donated items is the Sourced by Oxfam range of ethical gifts and homewares, which are already sold in charity shops and online. There is also a café – housed in an Oxfam water tank – and the location is designed to double as a hub for volunteering, social enterprises, community groups and talks.
Ms Neeve said the store was already integrating its charity and recycling work into the community.
“We are really humbled by the support of the local community and grateful for all the items donated and products that have been purchased, all of which go towards fighting poverty around the world,” she said.
The superstore opens four days a week, but accepts donations seven days a week. A drive-through drop-off point has been included to encourage donations.
The shop will create 11 new jobs, as well as a number of volunteering opportunities. It is supporting Oxfam’s Future Skills project, a volunteering, training and mentoring project for women in the UK facing barriers to building a better life.
Another project pushing secondhand items is Asda’s Re-Loved pop-up, which recently found homes for clothes that would otherwise be sent to landfill in its Milton Keynes store.
Run from 2 to 30 September, the Re-Loved shop was a project from George, Asda’s fashion brand, but sold donated clothes from a range of labels. All proceeds will now go to the supermarket’s Tickled Pink campaign which supports Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.
Melanie Wilson, senior director for sustainable sourcing at George, said: “At George, we’re committed to doing the right thing by our customers and the planet by improving the sustainability of our products, making sure they are built to last – including our 100 day satisfaction guarantee – and ensuring that any surplus stock we have is repurposed or recycled.”
“By trialling our Re-Loved pop-up shop, we hope to help create another route for unwanted clothes to find a new home and encourage people to think again about throwing away that top or those jeans they no longer love.”
Asda says it already has a zero-tolerance policy towards incineration of clothing waste and its surplus products are donated to be repurposed or recycled by a number of different charities. It also has clothing recycling points for customers at almost 500 stores.