H&M launches world's first in-store recycling system

By Lucy Jones  November 4th, 2020

The retailer's first garment-to-garment recycling system allows customers to watch as old garments are transformed into new ones.

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H&M is one of the biggest players in the fast fashion industry. As such, the retailer has a major role to play when it comes to developing circular solutions for the billions of tonnes of textiles that are produced and disposed of every year. Garment-to-garment recycling is one such solution.

H&M has unveiled the world's first in-store clothing recycling system. Called 'Looop', the machine takes an old garment, shreds it down to fibres, spins new yarn and knits a new garment. A small quantity of sustainably sourced virgin material is added during this process to strengthen the fibre, but H&M is working on ways "to make this share as small as possible".

The Looop system diverts textile waste from landfill and reduces the amount of virgin material needed to create new garments, thereby reducing the environmental impacts that are associated with growing cotton.

"The system uses no water and no chemicals, thus having a significantly lower environmental impact than when producing garments from scratch," H&M explains in a statement.

The first Looop recycling facility opened on October 12 in H&M's Stockholm store. For 100 Swedish Krona (around $15 AUD), H&M loyalty club members can watch their old clothes be transformed into new ones before their eyes. Non-members can also recycle their clothes for an extra 50 Krona, that's a total of just over $23 AUD.

As of 2019, 57 per cent of H&M's materials were either sustainably-sourced or recycled. The company hopes to bump that figure up to 100 per cent by 2030 through technological innovations like its Looop system.

“We are constantly exploring new technology and innovations to help transform the fashion industry as we are working to reduce the dependency on virgin resources. Getting customers on board is key to achieve real change and we are so excited to see what Looop will inspire,” H&M's Head of Sustainability, Pascal Brun, said.

Circular solutions require us to change our systems and our culture. By installing the Looop in its stores, H&M encourages customers to think about what happens to a piece of clothing at the end of its life. Taking the time to stop and think about how we might reuse and repurpose items before disposing of them will help us shift from a throwaway society to a circular one.

Interested in the circular economy? Planet Ark's Australian Circular Economy Hub (ACE Hub) officially launches on November 24 with an online event that will be live broadcast from the Sydney Opera House. Join us for a morning of talks from some of the brightest minds in the Australian and international Circular Economy space. Head here for more information and to secure your ticket.

Circular Economy News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes. 

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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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