H&M broke ground in 2012 by becoming the first apparel company to launch a clothing take-back program across all 48 of its markets worldwide. With an eye on limiting textile waste in landfills, as well as reducing resources used in the production of fabric, the firm has, to date, collected more than 14,000 tons of clothing globally.
“Creating a closed loop for textiles, in which unwanted clothes can be recycled into new ones, will not only minimize textile waste, but also significantly reduce the need for virgin resources as well as other impacts fashion has on our planet,“ Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M, said in a statement on Thursday.
H&M says it plans to increase the number of garments made with at least 20 percent recycled fibers by about 300 percent from 2014 numbers.
It’s even partnered with London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion to launch the United Kingdom’s first nationwide Fashion Recycling Week, which will run from August 31 through September 6.
Members of the public will be able to deposit their castoffs throughout the week at garment-collection boxes scattered around the Covent Garden Piazza. When that’s over with, students from the school will be challenged to repurpose those clothes into window installations for eight local H&M stores.
Still, the question needs to be asked: Wouldn’t it behoove H&M to make its wares less, well, disposable to begin, thus not adding to the glut?
(It must be noted that polyester and synthetic fabric blends, both hallmarks of the high street, are notoriously tricky to recycle.)
“We recycle no less than 97 percent of the clothes and textiles we collect into new products like clothes, insulation for cars, and most importantly into new garments, closing the loop in fashion,” Catarina Midby, H&M’s sustainability manager, told British Vogue.
Talk about #squadgoals.