As Jacobite rebel Jamie Fraser on television’s Outlander, Sam Heughan is used to getting his kit off. Now the actor wants his fellow Scots to do the same—that is, with clothing they no longer want or use. Together with supermodel Eunice Olumide, Heughan is throwing his support behind “The Empty Shop,” a charitable take on the pop-up store that opened at St. Enoch Centre in Glasgow over the weekend. Part of “Pass It On Week,” a new nationwide endeavor by Zero Waste Scotland to promote swapping, sharing, and donating, the “shop” will display public donations of clothing, shoes, and accessories as they are received through March 13. The inventory will then be dispensed to various charities for fundraising purposes.
PASS IT ON
“I’m excited to be supporting The Empty Shop this Pass it On Week,” Heughan, who contributed some shoes, a sweater, and a jacket, said in a statement. “In contrast to traveling back in time—as my Outlander character Jamie does—this is all about taking action to help Scotland in the future. I’m proud that Scotland is leading the way when it comes to minimizing waste and making things last.”
The people of Scotland toss many potentially reusable items into the trash, including about 2,100 tons of T-shirts, 5,000 tonnes of sofas and 9,700 washing machines in a single year, according to Zero Waste Scotland.
Research by the organization shows that the average Scottish household owns about £4,000 ($5,684) worth of clothes but hasn’t worn almost a third of those for at least a year. Yet each household spends roughly £1,700 ($2,415) every year on new clothes.
On the plus side, Scotland currently reuses 49 percent of its T-shirts, generating £10 million ($14.2 million) in financial savings, sales, and reemployment while curbing 25,600 tons of carbon emissions.
“Keeping items in use for longer can save money, create job opportunities, and make best use of the world’s raw materials that go into making the goods that we consume,” said Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland. “It’s all about creating a society where we see the value in things instead of treating them as disposable. By sharing, swapping, repairing, buying second-hand and doing all we can to make things last, we can develop a more sustainable, circular economy for a flourishing Scotland.”
Besides Heughan and Olumide, other celebrities who have pledged to donate items to The Empty Shop include First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, legendary designer Vivienne Westwood, singer Rita Ora, rapper Eve, and Stevie Jackson from Scottish band Belle and Sebastian.
The Empty Shop concept is the brainchild of the The Empty Project, a collaboration among Sao Paulo shopping center Shopping VillaLobos, its owner Grupo BR Malls, and Brazilian advertising agency Loducca. Cities such as Barcelona, Manchester, and Johannesburg have all held Empty Shop events in the past.
For Scots who aren’t in Glasgow, Heughan tells you not to worry. “There are Pass it On Week events happening across Scotland,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to declutter your home, grab a bargain, have some fun, and help reduce waste at the same time.”