STOCKHOLM – A H&M store in Sweden will showcase textile-textile recycling in action, allowing customers to hand over their old clothing to be broken down into fibres and yarns to become raw materials for new clothing. The Stockholm store of the fast fashion giant will become the first in the world to stage the Garment to Garment Recycling System (G2G) of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA). Customers will be able to watch the entire end to end process in real time in the store.
Edwin Keh, chief executive officer of HKRITA said: “HKRITA is excited to collaborate with our Swedish partners to bring our research project to life. Sustainability is a key part of our center’s work and purpose. We hope systems like the G2G will inspire even more creative solutions to our environmental challenges.
“By providing new life to our old clothes we can demonstrate that it is possible to use less resources and repurpose what we have. The G2G system allows customers to take charge of the reuse of their own wardrobe. Sustainability can be personal, and we can actively participate in the process.”
Added Pascal Brun, head of sustainability at H&M: “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.”
While allowing customers to see this technology in action is certainly an interesting move, it needs to be set against the fact that pure textile recycling represents a miniscule part of H&M’s business model – less than one per cent.
The company runs a huge clothing take-back programme across its stores which allows customers to return their old clothing to outlets in return for vouchers. However, almost all of the clothing returned is downcycled – and a fraction of it is incinerated.
HKRITA says it is actively continuing to research various forms of Garment to Garment” recycling and repurposing. The original G2G project is currently in its second phase.
In a statement it said: “In this second phase we are improving the system capacity, optimising its functionality, and automating its various processes.”