Sustainability at the heart of our 16-year fundraising partnership with TK Maxx

Cancer Research UK

The TK Maxx Give Up Clothes for Good campaign, which was shortlisted for Best Green Initiative at the 2019 Retail Systems Awards, demonstrates how an incredible fundraising partnership can also have a positive impact on the environment.

In 2004, we joined forces with TK Maxx to raise awareness and funds for children's and young people’s cancers. Since then, the leading off-price apparel and homeware retailer has raised an incredible £34m and is currently our largest corporate supporter of children's and young people’s cancer research. In 2018, TK Maxx demonstrated their long-term commitment by supporting the Cancer Research UK for Children & Young People Children’s Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence, which brings together expert researchers from across the globe to accelerate the development of better treatments, increase survival and improve the quality of life for children diagnosed with brain tumours.

At the heart of TK Maxx’s success is its nationwide campaign, Give Up Clothes for Good, which returns in February 2020. The campaign encourages employees, customers and the public to donate their pre-loved quality clothes, accessories and homeware at any TK Maxx store year-round, which are then sold in our shops to raise funds for life-saving research into cancers affecting children and young people.

But importantly, the campaign also drives environmental benefits by giving a new lease of life to items that might have otherwise ended up in landfill. Even if donations cannot be sold in our shops, we make sure they are re-used, repurposed or recycled.

Since the campaign began, more than 1.6 million bags (over 8,000 tonnes) of pre-loved items have been given a second life. For clothing, each tonne of donated items results in a net saving of around 4.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases (compared with new clothing being manufactured), which means that TK Maxx has helped save over 180,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking of the campaign’s many benefits, Jo Murphy, TK Maxx’s Assistant Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, said: “Not only are you helping more children and young people survive cancer, you’re also giving your pre-loved items a second life and doing your bit to help the environment. The more people who take part, the more money we can raise to help more children survive.”

At Cancer Research UK, we’re inspired by innovative partners like TK Maxx who fundraise sustainably, and their laudable efforts have not gone unnoticed by the industry. Our partnership won Retail Charity Partnership of the Year at the Retail Systems Awards 2019, while the Give Up Clothes for Good campaign was shortlisted for Best Green Initiative in recognition of the positive impact it has on the environment.

It really is a win-win-win situation. By donating a bag of pre-loved quality clothes, accessories and homeware to a local TK Maxx store, you can say no to waste, reduce your carbon footprint and help more children and young people survive cancer with a good quality of life. What are you waiting for?

Edward Bowers is a Philanthropy & Partnerships Communications Executive at Cancer Research UK