Every year tonnes of textiles are thrown out with domestic waste and end up in landfill. As much as 95 percent of these clothes could be used again, re-worn, reused or recycled – depending on the state of the garment. In order to help reduce all that waste, global clothing retailer H&M this February is installing collection points in its stores so customers can hand in used garments. The initiative covers all the 48 markets in which H&M operates.
“Our sustainability efforts are rooted in a dedication to social and environmental responsibility. We want to do good for the environment, which is why we are now offering our customers a convenient solution: to be able to leave their worn out or defective garments with H&M,” said Karl-Johan Persson, H&M’s CEO.
The initiative is designed to help customers reduce their ecological impact by recycling and saving natural resources. Customers can bring in items from any brand, not just H&M, and receive a voucher for each bag donated. The collected clothes are then handled by I:Collect, a specialist in infrastructure to reprocess consumer goods and make them available again.
H&M hopes that the initiative will help create a closed loop for textile fibers. The ultimate aim is to find technical solutions to reuse and recycle textile fibers on a larger scale. For that purpose, the company has set up its Conscious Foundation, which supports innovation on closing the loop on textiles and social projects along H&M’s value chain.
Back in September 2011, Japanese fashion chain UNIQLO launched a similar initiative in its US, UK and France stores. Items were mostly donated for reuse in refugee and IDP camps. These days the project covers Japan, South Korea, France, UK, US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai. Beneficiaries include, besides refugees and disaster survivors, homeless people, pregnant women and single mothers in need.
Image credit: H&M
Antonio Pasolini is a Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade. He is also a happy herbivore.