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Nov 2, 2017
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H&M burns up to 12 tonnes of clothes per year

Published
Nov 2, 2017

What does H&M do with its unsold merchandise? A team of journalists from the Danish program Operation X investigated this question for several months and recently revealed that the Swedish brand has been burning up to 12 tonnes of clothing a year since 2013. 



In a press release published on October 21, H&M claimed that this was a "very rare" occurrence and that the only pieces involved were those which "do not fulfill our safety regulations; if they are mould infested or do not fulfill our strict chemical requirements."

"We are very concerned as to why some media would suggest that we would destroy usable clothing. There is absolutely no reason for us to do such a thing," the Swedish brand added. 

However, following a second investigation, the Danish journalists claim to have tested the clothes sent to the incinerator. They "did not contain harmful levels of chemical products or abnormal rates of humidity", according to the journalists, as quoted in the French magazine Le Figaro. H&M again refuted the accusations, claiming that the tests were incomplete. 

"When test results show that certain products do not fulfill our safety regulations they should not under any circumstances be either sold to our customer or be recycled. [...] H&M has one of the strictest Chemical Restrictions in the industry and we do regular testing, [...]. Accordingly, the restrictions often go further than the law demands as we want our customers to feel totally safe to use our products", the Swedish company explained.

The brand also outlined what happens to its unsold merchandise: "Products stopped for other reasons than health and safety are either donated to charity organisations or re-used through re-use/recycling companies. Those products in stores that are not sold at full price are sold at a reduced price through our sales. We also actively move garments to stores or markets where we see a greater demand, or store them for the next season. At a last resort, we consider external buyers of our overstock."

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