Every year, literally tons of clothing are sent to the landfill because they’re too big, too small, or have minor damage. Over 95 percent of these clothes could be used again after a good wash and a little repair. Such waste seems unthinkable in a world where many go without adequate garments.
To help combat the growing problem of textile waste, international fashion retailer H&M recently partnered with I:Collect to launch a worldwide clothing recycling initiative next year. Starting in February 2013, customers of the Swedish chain will be able to exchange used garments — any piece of clothing will be accepted, of any brand — for a coupon voucher that can be used toward the purchase of new clothes.
While H&M has come under fire for selling clothing covered in toxic chemicals, there’s no doubt that the retail giant is moving in a more sustainable direction. Last year, H&M debuted its environmentally friendly fashion line, the Conscious Collection, made from sustainable materials including organic and recycled fibers. The chain also banned perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in all products ordered after Jan. 1, 2013.”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,” says Karl-Johan Persson, CEO.
After donation, clothing will be transported to an I:Collect sorting plant in Germany, according to Reuters. The material could then either be re-used as clothes or for other products like cleaning rags or insulation material in the car industry.
The company claims that its long-term goal is to find technical solutions to reuse and recycle textile fibers on a larger scale