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H&M To Launch Clothes Recycling Worldwide

Swedish fashion brand H&M announced it will launch a clothing collection initiative worldwide in February 2013. Customers will be able to hand in used garments in select H&M stores in all 48 of its global markets, saving natural resources and contributing to reduced environmental impact by avoiding textile waste. 

H&M said it will accept pieces of clothing from any brand and in any condition. In return, the customer will receive a voucher for each bag brought in. The collected clothes will be handled by H&M’s partner, I:Collect, which provides the infrastructure for reprocessing and recycling the items.

Every year tons of textiles are thrown out with domestic waste and end up in landfill. Estimates suggest as much as 95 percent of these clothes could be used again — re-worn, reused or recycled  depending on the state of the garment. 

Long-term, H&M said it wants to reduce the environmental impact of garments throughout the lifecycle and create a closed loop for textile fibers. H&M’s Conscious Foundation supports research into technical solutions and innovations for the reuse and recycle of textile fibers (H&M debuted its Conscious Collection line in 2011, which includes items made with organic cotton and recycled fibers.).

H&M isn’t the only brand prioritizing clothing recycling. In the UK, Marks & Spencer is urging customers to “shwop” unwanted items when they buy new ones. The company has a goal to collect as many clothing items as it sells. Also, customers of Japanese clothing brand UNIQLO now can recycle items they no longer wear at locations in the US, UK and France.  

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.

Bart King is the principal and founder of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. Follow him @bart_king and on LinkedIn.

[Read more about Bart King]

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