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Target Corp pilots denim recycle programme

Target will give customers a 20% discount on new jeans when they exchange old denim clothing

US department store retailer Target has launched a denim recycling pilot programme with German company I:Collect (I:CO), which specialises in collecting, recycling and reusing clothing, shoes and textiles.

The two-week denim-exchange programme is running from 11-24 March across select Target stores. The retailer will give customers a 20% discount on new jeans when they exchange old denim clothing.

Target says any brand or style in clean, dry condition will be accepted. I:CO will then take the items to be reused or recycled into new products.

Through the programme, Target and I:CO are expecting to keep more than 50,000 pounds of denim out of landfills. The German firm collects recycled clothes and shoes in more than 60 countries.

"This is the first denim trade-in programme for Target and is testing what works best for the guest and the business to help inform future programmes," it says. "The programme supports Target's goal to make it easy for their guests to do something positive for the planet and their communities."

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill space in the US, with the average consumer throwing away around 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.

Around 3.8bn pounds of post-consumer textile waste (PCTW) is recycled each year, but this only accounts for around 15% of all PCTW, leaving 85% in landfills.

The move by Target is one of a number of initiatives being carried out by the apparel sector. Swedish fashion group Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) has a garment-collective initiative where it offers a coupon towards a purchase in return for unwanted garments of any brand.

Levi Strauss & Co also works with I:CO to recycle clothes and shoes from any brand in return for a 20%-off voucher, while The North Face encourages consumers to donate unwanted clothing and footwear in return for a US$10 coupon toward a $100 purchase.