The rate of fashion moves quickly. One season you might be strutting down the street in a pair of high fashion harem pants, and the next you might look a bit more like MC Hammer. Those old fashions often end up in the donation pile, or worse, the trash.
Swedish clothing retailer H&M says as much as 95 percent of old clothing can be recycled and reused again. In 2010, 13.1 million tons of textile waste wound up in a landfill. That’s why the world’s second largest fashion retailer is set to launch a clothing recycling initiative in February 2013 in all 48 of its markets.
H&M will collect stained, torn, or simply out of date clothes in an in-store bin. The clothing will then be sent to German recycler I:Collect, which will then turn the clothing into everything from new clothing to automobile insulation.
Customers who make donations will receive vouchers for each bag of used clothing to use toward future H&M purchases.
“Long-term, H&M wants to reduce the environmental impact of garments throughout the lifecycle and create a closed loop for textile fibres [sic,]” the company says in a press release. “The aim is to find technical solutions to reuse and recycle textile fibres [sic] on a larger scale.”
The recycling program is an effort of H&M’s Conscious Foundation – an organization committed to bettering the lives of people in the countries where the retailer operates, from manufacturing to retail.