At H&M Group, we believe it’s senseless that so many clothes and discarded textiles end up in landfill. Upcycling, and eventually recycling, is two of many ways to fulfil our goals towards a more sustainable fashion future.
Recycling and Upcycling
The fashion industry weighs heavy on natural resources, which is one reason H&M Group has set up clear goals going ahead: our mission is to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Also, far too many textiles end up in trash bins and landfills — we’re talking thousands of tonnes, regularly thrown away with household waste.
But — when we work thoroughly with upcycling, recycling and reusing, rather than using up even more virgin resources, we’re onto something really good. Because one of many ways to tackle this issue is to change the way we make, use and dispose of clothing. This is one of many reasons you can drop off your old clothes and discarded textiles at several of H&M Group’s brands, and the reason many of them have launched upcycling initiatives.
In 2019, H&M Group collected 29,005 tonnes of textiles for reuse and recycling through our garment collecting initiative — equivalent to about 145 million T-shirts.
When you have dropped off your old textiles in the garment-collecting boxes, at the moment found in H&M, & Other Stories, Weekday and Monki stores, our business partner I:CO* takes over. They collect the boxes, and then sort the contains into three categories:
· Rewear — clothing that can be worn again will be sold as second-hand clothes.
· Reuse — old clothes and textiles will be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths.
· Recycle — everything else is turned into textile fibres and used for things like insulation.
* Due to Covid-19 related issues, services provided by I:CO may be temporarily disrupted in selected markets and/or brands. For more information, please contact your local customer service.
By keeping investing in new technological solutions, our aim is that we will eventually be able to reuse and recycle all textile fibres. Innovation is the key to achieving full circularity. That’s why we are supporting ground-breaking companies such as re:newcell, Worn Again, Ambercycle and Infinited Fiber. The surplus is used for various projects aiming at developing and commercializing more sustainable materials and processes. Also, for each kilogram of textiles that H&M collects, 0.02 euros will be donated to a local charity organization. For more information, head over to hm.charitystar.com.
H&M Foundation has partnered with HKRITA, The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, to develop technologies to recycle clothes made from textile blends into new clothes.
Several of the H&M Group brands have launched upcycling and recycling initiatives, as well as on-demand initiatives created in collaboration with The Laboratory, an H&M Group department working mainly with trend forecasts, research and innovation.
Weekday’s Re-Made capsule denim collection is one recent example where the design team have an upcycling approach, altering the garments and making them on-trend once again. This project is just one example of how H&M Group aim to create a two-way dialogue with customers and provide them with more sustainable items that they want, and thereby making smarter choices for the environment.
COS initiated a similar project, partnering up with The Renewal Workshop to make a first-of-its-kind collection, consisting of restored pieces sourced from COS’s supply-chain or returned items that have been carefully mended and cleaned by The Renewal Workshop — making them fit to sell again.