H&M on Tuesday revealed a new partner for its garment collection initiative in the U.S. — Keep America Beautiful, calling the group “the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization.”
The fast-fashion retailer said it’s urging customers to participate in America Recycles Day by donating unwanted textiles that are in good condition from any brand to H&M stores in the U.S. Consumers who donate items will receive double vouchers for 15 percent of their next purchase from Nov. 9 to 15, which is America Recycles Day. The national recycling drive was developed by Keep America Beautiful and is the only national recognized dedicated to promoting recycling.
H&M in 2013 launched its worldwide garment recycling project, which has since collected 40,000 tons of clothing. The retailer has been focused on collecting more clothing each year with a goal of a total volume of 25,000 tons per year by 2020. So far in 2017, H&M USA has amassed 2.3 million pounds of unwanted clothing that will get a second life rather than sit in a landfill.
The Swedish retail giant has been publishing global sustainability reports for more than a decade. H&M was the world’s largest user of organic cotton in 2011, which has been used in its Conscious Collection. The line is part of a goal to use only sustainable cotton by 2020. H&M is also working on leading the industry toward achieving zero discharges of chemicals by 2020.
The idea of recycling seems to be the antithesis of fast fashion. H&M said it’s committed to producing “fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. H&M’s ambition is to work toward a change in the way fashion is made and enjoyed. Closing the loop is a central commitment of H&M’s work towards a sustainable fashion future.”
It remains to be seen how steadfast H&M’s commitment to sustainability will remain as parent Hennes & Mauritz AB moves toward more local sourcing and faster speed-to-market while ramping up online operations. The reported a 20 percent decline in net profit in the recent third quarter. Profit for the three months ending Aug. 31 was 3.84 billion Swedish kronor, or $471 million, while sales rose 4.6 percent to 51.23 billion kronor.
Closing the loop for textiles “is a central commitment of H&M’s work toward a more sustainable future,” the company said, adding that the goal of a closed loop for textiles ensuring that unwanted clothes can be “reused and recycled to create fresh textile fibers for new products. This will help save natural resources and ensure that zero garments go to landfills. It will also help H&M to achieve its long-term goal of creating by 2030 products from more sustainable or recycled sources.”