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Retail giant H&M recycles 28,000 tonnes of garment

H&M, the Swedish retail giant began a revolutionary practice in February 2013: it started collecting old garment items from its stores worldwide to reuse them to save water and ensure environmental sustainability. The company has collected 28,000 tonnes of old garment items for reuse and recycling, t date which is as much fabric as in at least 100 million T-shirts, according to company data. In the short term, we have a clear vision to avoid waste and minimise the waste that goes to landfill. In the long term, we want to find a solution for reusing and recycling all textile fibers for new use, said Anna Eriksson, spokesperson for H&M.

H&M launched the first products made of recycled textile fibers from items collected under the Garment Collecting Initiative in February 2014. The garments, made from recycled cotton, included five classic denim pieces for men and women. It serves as an example of how H&M is closing the loop on textiles and the aim is to use more recycled material in future, Eriksson said.

The products are classified depending on the quality — re-wear, re-use, recycle and energy. The sorting process is set up to the criteria of the waste hierarchy, which states that all products fit for wear are sorted out to keep them in their original form for as long as possible. In 2015, some 1.3 million pieces were made with ‘close the loop’ material, which was an increase of over 300 percent from 2014. Regarding the prices of the garment items produced from the reused and recycled clothes, Eriksson said they want to move towards a 100 per cent circular business model.