reGAIN app launches First Digital Take Back Program to help divert unwanted clothing from landfill by incentivizing recycling.
Unwanted clothing contributes to 300,000 tonnes going to landfill every year: the equivalent of 50 trucks’ worth of clothing per day.
More than a quarter of Londoners and one in ten UK residents currently throw unwanted clothing in the bin instead of recycling.
Digital consumer take-back programme for unwanted clothing is a significant step towards the circular economy in fashion.
reGAIN app, the UK’s first app for the recycling of unwanted clothing, has launched today, marking a significant step forward for the creation of a circular economy in fashion. The app helps consumers turn unwanted clothes into discount coupons for leading retailers in the UK, helping to divert tonnes of unwanted clothing from going to landfill.
The reGAIN app has partnered with a number of fashion brands and retailers including Superdry, Asics, New Balance, boohoo and Missguided, as well as lifestyle brands and experiences including Expedia, Hotels.com, EVE Sleep and BodyBuilding.com. By boxing up their unwanted clothing and shipping them to reGAIN, consumers can earn discount coupons to use online or in store.
The reGAIN app has been developed by Jack Ostrowski, award-winning Polish-origin entrepreneur and founder of Yellow Octopus, which offers commercial sustainability from retail to end consumer. Yellow Octopus has been providing sustainable stock exit solutions for British fashion retailers including ASOS, John Lewis, Primark, boohoo, Missguided, all UK supermarkets and more for over 12 years. Yellow Octopus has put its experience of handling large volumes of post-consumer textiles for leading UK retailers into the reGAIN app, with the aim of involving UK consumers and helping them to change the way they think about the value of clothing and how they dispose of things they no longer want or need.
“We are realists, not idealists. We know that we can’t stop people from buying clothes, but we can incentivise them to change their habits and divert hundreds of tonnes of clothing from UK landfill. Our long-term goal is a world in which clothes never become waste,” commented Jack Ostrowski, founder of Yellow Octopus, the company behind the reGAIN app.
“The reGAIN app turns commercial sustainability into action and provides a modern solution for fast fashion lovers by rewarding sustainable behaviour. Stopping clothes from going to landfill is the first step towards a circular economy.”
New research from reGAIN app shows that despite growing awareness of the importance of recycling and the circular economy, a huge number of people are still throwing unloved items of clothing in the bin. The survey found that more than one in ten throw their clothes away rather than giving them to charity or to be recycled, whilst in London this figure is 27%. This is particularly significant as the continuing trend for fast fashion means that a large proportion of people’s wardrobes are at risk of being binned – with almost three quarters (73%) admitting that they no longer wear up to half the items they own.
Those items that fall out of favour contribute to 300,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing going to landfill in the UK every year; the equivalent of 50 trucks’ worth of clothing per day. As much as 95% of the clothes thrown away could have been reworn, recycled or upcycled.
However the appetite for recycling is evident, and this is where the reGAIN app steps in: the majority of respondents said they would use the reGAIN app to get their unwanted clothes re-used and recycled. The survey also found that 67% of people would recycle more if they were rewarded for doing so; 66% would recycle more if it was free and easy to do so, whilst 56% would recycle more if they knew how much environmental damage sending clothes to landfill causes.
reGAIN app aims to address this issue by raising awareness of the importance of recycling clothing, and by providing a simple and rewarding way for people to recycle more. After downloading the app, users can ship their old clothes, shoes and accessories to reGAIN free of charge from over 20,000 drop-off points across the UK. In return, they will receive a discount coupon so they can shop for less.
In order to keep the carbon footprint to a minimum, reGAIN app only accepts one drop per week per customer, with a minimum of 10 items in each shipment. Once the clothes reach reGAIN app, they are either reused and reworn, recycled, upcycled, or used as combustibles for energy production.
The launch of the app follows the recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation report, A New Textiles Economy, which found that the fashion industry is the third largest polluter of the planet. High fashion and high street retailers have responded with a number of in-store recycling services and sustainable fashion ranges which are proving popular with consumers. It also coincides with Fashion Revolution Week (23rd April), which will see a series of events taking place around the globe, prompting consumers to ask who and how their clothes are made.
Ostrowski adds, “The reGAIN app provides consumers with a three-fold ‘Do Good’ scheme: firstly, to do good for their living space through decluttering; secondly, to do good for their wallet, by receiving coupons and shopping for less; and thirdly, doing good for the planet, by diverting clothing from UK landfill. With 49% of people we surveyed planning to do a spring clean of unwanted clothing this month, we hope many of them will consider using reGAIN app to prevent these items from becoming waste.”