Sep 29, 2022
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Shaftesbury launches recycling test on Carnaby Street, fashion labels sign up

Sep 29, 2022

Are You Mad. No, that’s not a question but the name of Shaftesbury’s latest consumer-facing effort to promote sustainability. The London commercial property giant has opened its first visible recycling unit. And where else could be more visible than Carnaby Street?


The dual-focus space at the lower end of the street (56B) exists as both a plastic sorting facility and a retail store. It collects plastic waste from local businesses, shoppers and its growing community, which is then sorted, shredded, and turned into new objects, including the build of the shop itself.

Retail brands in Carnaby that have signed up to support Are You Mad include The North Face, Annie’s Ibiza, Ganni, Swatch, and G-Shock. And in its short existence so far it claims to have diverted 1,259kg of plastic from going to landfills and have processed a tonne of plastic.

With the knowledge that general recycling facilities are only able to handle a small percentage of everything that goes in the bin, and very little is reused and so is sent to landfill or burnt, Are You Mad thought it was a sane idea to try to stop all the plastic waste from leaving the place where it is generated. 

“Flip the concept on its head, elevate the role of waste as a missed creative resource and make a waste collector into an aspirational job for a young creative person”, James Suckling, co-founder at Are You Mad, said.

He added: “Having a bricks-and-mortar store is our way of making repurposed waste visible to the general public. We hope to change the perception of rubbish by showing the process of turning waste into unique and tangible objects.” 

Items can be created as one-off custom products, including coasters, hair combs, incense holders and fruit bowls. Prices start at 50p and range up to £15,000 with over 100 different products available.

Samantha Bain-Mollison, Retail Director at Shaftesbury, also said: “The conscious creative unit is one of a kind and we can’t wait to see what unique items are produced from all the plastic donated, as well as the future of recycling.” 

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