One of the best things to come out of H&M’s sustainability push is its garment take-back program. Despite spanning all 3,900 of its stores in 61 markets worldwide, however, the clothing-recycling scheme remains largely unfamiliar to an embarrassingly wide swath of consumers. It almost beggars belief just how many millions of pounds of textiles we cavalierly throw in the trash, though we can chalk most of this up to simple ignorance. Still, if Iggy Pop couldn’t convince you to drop off rather than dispose of your no-longer-desirable duds, perhaps M.I.A. can. The British recording artist has signed on to be the public face of World Recycle Week, an initiative by the Swedish retailer to collect 1,000 tons of castoff garments from its globe-spanning clientele.
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CLOSING THE LOOP
The gig will see the “Paper Planes” singer in a new music video for H&M that highlights the environmental impact of clothing when it’s condemned to the landfill.
The video will drop at www.hm.com on April 11 ahead of World Recycle Week, which will run from April 18 through 24.
Since 2013, when the textile take-back scheme first launched, H&M says it has collected more than 25,000 tons of clothing. A year later, the fast-fashion giant debuted its first line of denim derived from reclaimed cotton from the program. It followed up in 2015 with an expanded collection, including three styles of jeans, a denim jacket, and a denim jumpsuit for women, two distressed slim-leg styles and a pair of coated-denim joggers for men, and a zip-up hoodie with animal ears for children.
“The aim is to create a closed loop for textiles, so that unwanted clothes can be reused and recycled to create fresh textile fibers for new products,” the company said in a statement. “The long-term goal is to have zero garments going to landfill, as well as saving on natural resources.”
No garment is too worn-out for collection, H&M says, before adding that recycling a single T-shirt can save 2,100 liters of water.
“All textiles are welcome—odd socks, old towels, the dress with a hole—and nothing is too torn, worn or used for a second life,” it added.
The company also invites you to create your own “rehaul” video clips—the antithesis of so-called “haul videos”—using the hashtag #HMrehaul.
H&M will even pay you to recycle: All customers who drop off their used clothing will receive discount vouchers for use at the store in return.
Not that we recommend you use them, of course. Reducing our consumption will do more to nip textile waste in the bud than all the recycling programs we can muster.