Being the world’s second largest user of recycled polyester is not H&M’s only circular economy achievement.
Multi-national fashion retailer of Swedish origin, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), has set itself ambitious targets: to become 100% circular and renewable. Already, the company has implemented ‘reverse retail’: in 2018 they collected 20,649 tonnes of textiles for reuse and recycling through the in-store garment-collection program. I:CO, H&M’s partner in this scheme, sorts these into grades for reuse and recycling. H&M is also experimenting with renewable materials, such as fibres made from waste orange-peel. The company furthermore uses a large amount of recycled polyester for its fashion: in 2016 H&M used an amount of recycled polyester the equivalent of more than 180 million PET bottles and in 2030 they are aiming for 100% recycled or sustainably sourced materials. As well as looking into sourcing circular materials, H&M has invested in establishing better end-of-life solutions for mixed fibre products, which are notoriously difficult to recycle: together with the Hong Kong Research Institute HKRITA, the company has developed a new process for separating and treating such blended fibres. Ultimately the aim is for H&M to become 100% circular and even become climate positive by 2040.