H&M creates garment recycling JV

Swedish fast fashion giant H&M has announced the creation of a new joint venture with German recycling group Remondis.

H&M said that the new 50-50 JV, Looper Textile, will collect, sort and sell used and unwanted garments and textiles with the aim to extend the life of approximately 40 million garments in 2023.

The company added that Looper “aims to become a preferred feedstock provider to companies and innovators engaged in textile resale and recycling.” Beyond just recycling garments, it will test new collection schemes and implement automated sorting technologies including what it describes as ‘near-infrared sorting’.

The new group will be headed up by Emily Bolon, head of commercial, advisory and strategic partnerships for H&M Group, who will serve as chief executive officer. She said: “We are excited to announce the launch of Looper Textile Co. 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.

“Today, less than 40 per cent of used clothes are collected in the EU. Consequently, 60 per cent of post-consumer textiles go directly to waste. 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.”

Fast fashion has a major waste and pollution issue, and H&M is one of its chief offenders. A Bloomberg report from 2022 highlighted that the fashion industry produces more than 100 billion clothing items each year, more than double the amount in 2000. According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for about 10 per cent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

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