H&M takes deep dive into garment recycling via Looper initiative
H&M is the latest big name to announce a major textile and garment waste initiative with the Swedish fashion retail giant working with Looper Textile Co on the new plan.
Looper is actually a joint venture that H&M part-owns with the other 50% of the business owned by waste management specialist Remondis.
It intends to “collect, sort and sell used and unwanted garments and textiles and thereby extend the highest use of these valuable resources”.
Looper CEO Emily Bolon said that currently, less than 40% of used clothes are collected in the EU. That means 60% of post-consumer textiles go directly to waste.
“Used and unwanted garments must first be collected and sorted into different streams, such as by type of material or garment, in order to be reused or recycled. By building infrastructure and solutions for collection and sorting, we hope to move one step closer toward enabling circularity, thereby minimising the CO²-impact and improving resource efficiency,” she added.
H&M has a decade-long history in garment collecting having been the first fashion company to launch such an initiative worldwide in 2013. And via its investment arm H&M CO:LAB, it has invested in companies that develop technologies to enable textile recycling.
But it said that the new venture means it’s “participating more directly in developing the infrastructure that is necessary to close the loop of fashion”.
It added that working with Remondis means the standalone operation will be able to access invaluable know-how in providing collection and sorting solutions at scale.
Looper aims to become “a preferred feedstock provider to companies and innovators engaged in textile resale and recycling”.
Starting its operations in Europe, the goal is to “extend the highest use of approximately 40 million garments during 2023. The company plans to innovate within textile collection and sorting, for example by testing new collection schemes and implementing automated sorting technologies such as near-infrared sorting, as well as by developing an assortment of partners in the areas of reuse and recycling”.
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