Is a penny on a garment enough to tackle environmental issues?

Adding a penny to clothes to fund recycling scheme

Today MPs called for there to be a penny added to every item of clothing to fund a £35m annual recycling scheme.

Fast fashion and landfill

shirts on clothes rail various colours“Fast fashion” is the term that has been given to the clothing industry where clothes are being worn very few times and sent to landfill. In the BBC report 235 million articles of clothing were sent to landfill in the UK last year. 700,000 fibres released in a single domestic wash. In 2015 1.2bn tonnes of carbon emissions were produced by the global fashion industry.

Focus on plastics and food waste not clothing?

There has been (rightly) a huge focus on plastic as the public’s minds have become engaged with the issue thanks to programmes like Blue Planet. Similarly with food waste. But the clothing industry is doing just as much damage to the environment. It contributes hugely to greenhouse gases, water and air pollution and over-use of water. But are the people who are trying to reduce their use of plastics and encourage industry to make changes the same people who are wearing clothes once, being seen in social media in it and then disposing of it?

We need our MPs to do more in challenging companies. A penny a garment isn’t enough. The law also needs to be enforced to ensure that companies are paying at least the minimum wage so that clothes aren’t being made so cheaply it encourages people to throw away items. A change in the voluntary to compulsory agreements to reduce environmental impact and their involvement in what can be done to work in partnership with consumers regarding clothes they no longer want. Vouchers, clothes swaps, using recyclable materials so they can reuse etc.

What are stores doing to tackle clothes waste?

Well, Marks and Spencer runs its Plan A because there is no Plan B scheme. This includes giving customers a £5 voucher to spend in Marks and Spencer for purchases over 335 when they return items through Oxfam. But little is heard about this now? This is part of a larger programme and is working towards being more environmentally friendly by 2025.

ASOS sourcing programmes involves looking at  how to design, source and innovate to create more sustainable products.

Adidas joins the fight against plastic pledging it will use only recycled plastics by 2024.

There are and will be others. But it comes of no surprise to see that MPs say that they have had no commitments from the big bad boys, JD Sports, Sports Direct and Amazon UK who are amongst companies providing little to no detail on doing anything to help save the planet. That will be greed then.

Are companies doing enough to reduce negative environmental impact?

Let’s face it – companies can look for alternatives to plastic packaging which won’t necessarily affect costs to them or consumers. When it comes to fashion though, we are, in essence, amongst other measure, looking at expecting companies to actually sell fewer items! We need to encourage people to reduce their clothes waste which means buying fewer things.

Although the proposed scheme to add a penny to a garment would help recycling schemes there is more that could be done. There are signs that companies are waking up to looking at making responsible textiles and yarns and perhaps as this idea develops, the more environmentally friendly companies will become the ones of choice for the customer.

Unsurprisingly the voluntary approach to improving the sustainability of the fashion industry is failing – with just 11 fashion retailers signed up to an agreement to reduce their water, waste and carbon footprints. (As reported by the BBC.)

What can consumers do to reduce clothes waste?

  1. We need to educate people more around the impact of the current  throwaway culture. People who have been seen in an item on social media and say they can’t wear it again! Ridiculous but true.  Let’s encourage people to look at it as a positive move rather than a negative one.  Be proud of wearing something more than one once!
  2. Give things to charity helping both the charity, the person buying the item and keeping them in wardrobes not landfill.
  3. Sell clothes on auction sites or for free on GumTree and Facebook pages.
  4. Upcycle. Make changes to clothes, adding bling, cutting trousers into shorts etc.
  5. Using charity shops.
  6. Buy from companies working toward environmentally friendly practices and sustainability.

 

 

What else can we do to encourage responsible use of textiles, materials and clothes?

And how about packaging?

9 supermarkets scrutinised – costs of packaged v loose items

Bring about change with sweets

 

 

Will your Gift Cards keep on giving?

Or will they expire before you can use them?!

The press release with more background information on the story from 2016  can be found on Looking a gift card in the mouth

1) Carefully check the expiry date of the Gift Card, which could even be different to advertised! Tesco sells the Pizza Express card with an 18 months expiry but when I contacted them they said this was mistake and would change the figure on their website to 24 months. Many independent restaurants can be 6-9 months and experience days are usually 6 or 9. Most will start the clock running again from when the card was last used if you have credit.

2) If you find a card that you haven’t used, go into the store and ask for a balance check. Many of the larger retailers will do this and your time will start again. So if you have only 3 months left on a card but started with 24, the 24 will start again.

3) Remember your consumer rights stay the same. If the item you buy with the card is not of satisfactory quality then under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you can take it back within 30 days for a full refund. After that time a repair or replacement may be offered. But you get refunded using the method by which you paid, so the money will go back onto the Gift Card

4) It isn’t just gift cards as presents you need to be careful of, as sometimes gift cards are given as goodwill gestures by companies. So for example, Eurostar or Ryanair may give you a Gift Card and you don’t intend to travel for a couple of years, but their cards only last a year.

5) Often its grandparents giving children Gift Cards. They don’t like the idea of just giving cash and sometimes feel that if they hand over money in a shop it is more of a present than cash, but those younger children go out shopping less often than adults so check their cards too. Buy them off the children, if you can use them.

6) My mum always bought mine at face value when I was a child because she’s nice, but if you don’t have the option of exchanging for face value you can always sell them on a website. Zeek* has been going for a couple of years in this country. It provides a way to can sell your unwanted gift card for slightly less than face value and Zeek takes 7% (you just have more than 3 months to go on the card). Zeek checks balances on cards before they can be sold. You may find gift cards on auction st of course eBay doesn’t check what sellers sell. Useful guidance can be found  on eBay Buyers Guide to purchasing Gift Vouchers & Gift Cards from the UK Giftcard and Voucher Association.

7) Keep the receipt in a separate place to the card. If you lose the card you will still have the details so that if you act quickly enough the store maybe able to cancel the card. But in essence the card acts like cash.

8) Check that you can use in concessions within a store and online, as again all varies from store to store!

9) If store goes bust act quickly. It will be up to the administrators as to whether they will continue to accept them.

10) If your card has expired don’t despair. Although it is unlikely you will get a full refund it is worth asking at the checkout, then with customer services and then the CEO, by telling him or her what you think of their ridiculous unnecessary expiry dates!

 

 

 

Big name companies which only have one year expiry dates are:

12 months
Wiggle, Eurostar, Habitat, Ticketmaster, Crew Clothing, Ryanair, Spafinder, O2 Climb, Vue, Westfield Shopping Centre, JD Sports and Restaurant Choice (variety of chains and you can’t even use with any discount promotion either!)

10 months
Buyagift and Spabreaks

6 months
Various independent restaurants, We Are Vertigo and UK Paintball

Other cons!
Be really careful of the Post Office One4all gift card! “Quoted from their site “There will be a charge of 90p applied to the card on the19th month after the card sale date and each month thereafter until the card balance reaches zero.” That stinks!

Matalan may not give you any change when you use their gift cards!

Useful information

Consumer Rights Act 2015

20 Top Tips for Complaining Effectively

 

Signed copies of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! . Or get unsigned copies from Amazon

 

 

 

See Ceoemail.com for the contact details for any CEO.

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Looking a Gift Card in the Mouth

*refer a friend link