H&M is looking to solve a major issue the fast-fashion industry has greatly contributed to over the years: clothing waste.
Starting October 12, H&M is rolling out a garment-to-garment recycling program called Looop, which will give its Sweden-based customers the option to turn used garments into three different clothing options. The program aims to help H&M lead the shift toward creating a more sustainable fashion industry and is one of many initiatives that H&M plans to launch to become a more sustainable and climate positive brand.
“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,”
The fast-fashion retailer’s Looop recycling program works by facilitating disassembling and then reassembling of multiple garments at a time.
During the process, garments are cleaned, shredded into fibers and then spun into new yarn. From there, the yarn is then knitted into new fashion finds. While the process does not require the use of water or chemicals, it does, however, at times, utilize “sustainably sourced” raw materials within its process.
During the initial launch period, customers will have the option to spin their clothes into a sweater, a baby blanket, or a scarf for a small fee ranging anywhere from $11 to $16. As the Looop technology is utilized in Stockholm and the retailer gets to learn more from it, H&M plans to expand the service to other locations in the future.
For now, the offering will only be available to the company’s Swedish customers as there’s much to be learned about how consumers will utilize it before it can be scaled.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2017 alone, the United States generated 16.9 million tons of textile waste. At that point in time, the recycling rate was just 15.2 percent, with 2.6 million tons of clothing waste recycled. This speaks to the massive waste problem that needs to be solved for in markets around the world.
H&M also has a global garment collecting program in place, which it launched in 2013. The program enables customers could bring in their clothes to H&M locations to be recycled.
The company’s sustainability efforts come at a time when it is working toward digitizing and improving its overall shopping experience. In one such effort, the company is now letting its customers shop more easily by enabling them to interact with a virtual assistant and live chat agents directly from services like Google Maps and Google Search. The company also recently announced plans to shutter 250 brick and mortar locations.