H&M are showing us that recycling clothes is possible and easy!
Updated: Apr 23
Think about all the clothes that enter and leave your wardrobe year after year, the new favorites added and the old 'has beens' removed. Firstly, how much clothes would there be if you made a pile of all the clothes that have entered and left your wardrobe over the years? Would it be overwhelmingly big? I know mine would be!! Now after your clothes leave your wardrobe, have you considered what life they have? Maybe the ones in good condition you donated, from there maybe they had a second life, then what? Thrown away? For all those clothes that you had worn out, were they thrown out? Or made into a rag for a while then thrown out?
What I am getting at, is that almost all of your clothes end their (long or short) life filling up landfills. Of course giving your clothes a second life through donating is an amazing option not only for the less fortunate but also for sustainability. But how about everything that isn't in a state to donate? The ripped, stained, shrunk, damaged, and worn out ones. How about an option for those who receive donated clothes to them recycle them for discounted items once they have worn them out?
Well H&M has started a program where you can return old or unwanted H&M items and receive 15% off your next purchase. Along with this they have a 'conscious' range that has items made with up to 50% recycled clothing.
I think it is really great for such a big global brand to get involved in. This initiative will help people become more aware of their clothing waste, reduce the amount that goes into landfills (through choosing items that contain recycled materials), and to be financially benefited by choosing to recycle their own items. It's a real win for the store, customers and the environment.
Please however, do note that H&M are not quite saints when it comes to ethical fashion. There are still some major concerns about their partners factories being far behind in safety violations. In the past they had a number of problems with their supplier factories paying below the living wage, however this year they have worked hard to improving transparency down the chain and getting wages up to a living standard. They have also put some work into sourcing more organic cotton than a number of their big brand competitors - which stop harmful chemicals going into the ground and poising nearby villages. When it comes to animal welfare, while they are not using angina or wool from mulesed lamb, they are still using leather from meat by-products. So over all they still have a lot to work to do but they are moving to change. The Go On You organization has rated H&M 'good' in labour, 'good' in environment, and 'it's a start' in animal welfare.
So avoid the animal products from H&M and opt for supporting what they are doing well at, their conscious range. Choosing to support such programs will encourage the continuation and expansion of their recycling program, add pressure for their competitors to follow suit, and not to mention reducing what ends up in landfills.