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Shwop? Nope.

I am usually very positive about Marks and Spencers' green credentials. They really make something of it with their 'Plan A' materials plastered all over the stores. They were one of the stars of my Sustainable Business book. Many people think of M&S as the doyen of green businesses. But I think they have got it horribly wrong with their latest 'shwopping' campaign.

Firstly it's fronted by Joanna Lumley, who really gets on my nerves. (Partly because of all those injury lawyer adverts she does for the radio, but also because her voice is so irritating, and she comes across as totally false, hardly ideal for this kind of campaign.) Someone must love her, she's on the TV so much, but I really don't understand why.

But mostly I'm against it because the idea is awful. The concept is that if you buy a piece of clothing you can bring in an old piece of clothing to be recycled. You don't get any benefit from this - M&S just kindly recycles it on your behalf. But frankly it is so much more effort per item than simply flinging a pile of stuff in a bag and either leaving it out for a collector or popping it into a clothes recycling bank. You have to consciously be going to M&S to buy a piece of clothing and think to take one (and only one) item along with you. It's a nightmare.

If they gave some incentive, like 5% off if you 'shwop' something, fine. (Please, that word is awful!) But as it stands it neither makes good financial sense nor good recycling sense. One to avoid.


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