The aim:  to engage young people in London to change their behaviour in relation to clothing through a series of events, initiatives and activities to increase understanding of how clothes impact the environment.

The expected outcome:  Reduction in clothing sent to landfill.

Why take action

Each week in the UK 38 million items of new clothing are being bought and 11 million items of clothing go to landfill.

Key activities

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) are running a London-based campaign called #LoveNotLandfill which targets younger consumers to increase their understanding of how clothes impact the environment. #LoveNotLandfill  encourages young Londoners to donate their unwanted clothing to charity, put them in clothes banks, swap, borrow and buy second-hand.

Campaign activities have included re-designing and positioning textile recycling banks to make it easier for young people to donate their old clothes, swap and style events and pop up shops showcasing the best second hand clothes that London has to offer. The team has also run student workshops and events in schools and universities.

All actions aim to share knowledge and encourage behaviour change in the fast fashion generation.

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In addition to the campaign LWARB are working with a selected retailer to trial an alternative business model.

Activity in a bit more detail …

Clothing banks

Multiple textile clothing banks were placed across the city in locations where young people visit regularly, five of which were designed by street artist Bambi to appeal to this younger demographic. Locations include TopShop Oxford Circus, Westfield London (Shepherds Bush), Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre and London Designer Outlet, Wembley.

Swap and style events

During Fashion Revolution Week in London the #LoveNotLandfill campaign was launched with a swap and style event at LM Barry textile recyclers for both members of the public and influencers, where they brought old clothes to donate and swapped with some of the vintage, designer and high street brand clothes that had been put in clothes banks for recycling. Professional stylists and photographers were on hand to create content worthy of social media sharing.

Pop up shops

The first #LoveNotLandfill pop up shop launched in November 2018 with a stylish second-hand shop showcasing second hand fashion at its very best, displayed in a vibrant, spacious and friendly environment. The shop attracted 2,500 visitors over 4 days and achieved some great media coverage. Collections were from Oxfam, Royal Trinity Hospice, TRAID, Barnardo’s and depop, all of which were curated by social media influencers.

Due to the success of the first pop up shop, #LoveNotLandfill ran their second in Carnaby Street London, this time exclusively with depop in July 2019 running for 4 days.

School activities

Schools are more engaged on environmental activity than ever before, but until now it’s rarely been about fashion and clothes. #LoveNotLandfill created a menu of activities to help schools fill their 6th form personal, social and health education (PSHE) sessions. A clothes bank was put on site and then the team held an assembly to talk to students about how they can help reduce their impact on the environment through fashion. They worked with the most engaged students to devise a communications campaign encouraging others across the school to donate clothes into the bank. The #LoveNotLandfill team returned a month later to hold a clothes swap in school.

Key findings, results and impacts

The various campaigns and activities helped us collect the following learnings and insights:

  • In the planning we found it very difficult to connect with local authorities for their support. Their limited resources and focus on other recycling targets meant that interest in getting involved with #LoveNotLandfill was limited. But as a result, we found we built strong relationships with partner organisations such as textile recyclers, charities and sustainable fashion activist groups which opened up further opportunities for activity.
  • We spent a small amount of time and budget on speaking to our target audience via a youth panel. The insights from these meetings were invaluable to the campaign and with hindsight we would have spent more time engaging the participants and developing those relationships to help guide the project.
  • We changed our thinking to be like a brand rather than a local authority.
  • We had to take the clothes banks to the people and make them look different and interesting to get their attention.
  • We used the people and platforms our audiences were already engaging with to get our key messages across and build our own social media following.
  • We learnt that if doing something for the first time (like putting clothes banks in shopping centres) we would need more time than we anticipated.

Alternative business model

As part of this action’s work with consumers, LWARB identified a retail partner to trial an alternative business model in order to reduce clothing waste and promote circularity.

In November 2017, ASOS began working with LWARB on a project to assess the commercial viability of circular business models.

After considering a wide range of circular business models including rental and leasing, subscription, incentivised return and resale, the project team decided to narrow the focus to a deeper investigation of a resale proposition.

The team then carried out multiple business modelling exercises to determine what was needed behind the scenes to make a resale proposition work.

These exercises covered price points, back-end logistics, and investigating customer interest in variations on this proposition.

Although the trial did not result in a business pilot as originally intended, a number of insights and findings were found as part of the steps taken. These are summarised in the white paper produced by ASOS which can be found here.