Garment Collecting: H&M Moving Towards Sustainable Fashion
We all know that fast-fashion has created waste, environmental pollutants and contributes to quite the carbon footprint amongst other personal problems like excessive purchases and closets full of unworn trendy clothes that may never be touched. And while I too contribute to this problem of excess, more than I'd like to admit, I believe fully in repurposing as much materials as possible. Whether donating your unwanted clothing to Salvation Army , Dress for Success, or an auction that uses proceeds from your designer accessories towards charity (such as Union & Fifth which recently folded), I'm still vying for the originator brands to seek larger solutions. They will be the ones to lead the charge towards lasting sustainability.
Perhaps I'm a little late to have noticed this, but did you know that H&M has had a sustainability program since 2013? As one of the biggest culprits of fast-fashion excess, it's been quite refreshing to research this program's successes. It's pretty impressive. And they are incentivizing customers to support their initiative.
H&M will give you 15% off your purchase for bringing your unwanted garments to their stores to be repurposed. They can be in any condition; and they don't even have to be from H&M.
Today, up to 20% of your typical H&M clothing has been made with recycled, reconstructed and repurposed materials. And they are working to increase this number. And any profits made from resold items get reinvested in their social projects and developing technologies to increase the percentage of recycled materials they can use in new clothing.
They rightfully tout : "Since we launched our garment collecting initiative in 2013, we have gathered more than 55,000 tonnes of garments to give them a new life – that’s more fabric than in 270 million t-shirts."
Check out this video:
From the site:
Currently, one single garment can contain up to 20% recycled fibres (recycled cotton or recycled wool from collected garments) without any loss of quality or durability. We are working to get that number to increase by creating demand and investing directly in technological innovation. The first step is to minimise the risks of fashion going to landfills – we believe our clothes deserve better! In the long term, we want to find the technological solutions needed to be able to fully reuse and recycle all textile fibre. When using other recycled material (blended or pure) such as recycled polyester, a garment can already now be made of 100% recycled material.
The surplus is donated to H&M Foundation and split between social projects, and recycling projects. H&M Foundation has partnered with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel to develop technologies to recycle clothes made from textile blends into new clothes. The social projects are focused on equality and inclusion of marginalized groups. In addition, for each kilogram of textiles that H&M collects, 0.02 euros will be donated to a local charity organization, please read more at hm.charitystar.com.