A department store in the UK decorated an East London building with 10,000 pieces of clothing in an effort to raise awareness about the vast amount of clothing that ends up in landfills each year. Marks & Spencer calls it the “Schwopping Project”, a cross between shopping and swapping.
The Schwopping Project aims to get people to quit throwing clothes in the garbage. As part of the initiative, Marks & Spencer placed 1,200 clothing drop boxes across London to make it easier for people to donate old or unused clothing. The donated clothing gets sent to Oxfam, an international organization targeting poverty in poor nations around the world. According to the organizers of the project, 10,000 articles of clothing reach landfills every five minutes. That’s quite alarming, especially since there are so many people out there that could really use the clothing.
I’d say the organizers of the Schwopping Project did a pretty good job of raising awareness of the problem. It’s not every day you drive by a building covered with 10,000 pieces of clothing, so it’s sure to grab your attention. Closer to home, artist Jennifer Marsh completed a similar type of project in Syracuse, New York. She completely covered the façade of an abandoned gas station with donated crochet squares. The purpose of the project was to raise awareness about the world’s dependence on oil. The Gas Station Project was completed in 2008.
Rather than throwing your old clothing away, consider donating it to local charitable organizations like Goodwill or The Salvation Army. You can also repurpose torn/stained clothing as rags for washing the car or for cleaning. You can also toss cotton clothing into the compost bin.