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H&M Kicks Off Garment Recycling Program

H&M kicked off its garment recycling program yesterday. The initiative allows customers to donate used clothing of any brand at all of the fashion retailer’s stores in its 48 markets worldwide.

The company launched the initiative in partnership with Global Green USA, the American affiliate of Green Cross International, and I:Collect, a Swiss-based company that processes around 500 tons of used items every day in 74 countries. Under the partnership, I:Co will repurpose the clothing collected at H&M stores.

For each bag of clothing donated, customers will receive a voucher for 15 percent off their next purchased item, H&M said.

According to H&M, as much as 95 percent of clothes that end up in a landfill every year could be re-worn, reused or recycled. The company says it wants to reduce the environmental impact of garments throughout the lifecycle and create a closed loop for textile fibers.

The new clothing collection initiative is the most recent addition to H&M’s Conscious program, intended to create more sustainable fashion, the retailer says. This includes being the No. 1 user of organic cotton worldwide and banning perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, in all of its products ordered after Jan. 1, 2013.

Other retailers, such as Marks & Spencer and The North Face, have announced clothing recycling programs. This week, The North Face launched a pilot clothing take-back/recycling program called Clothes the Loop, aimed at keeping billion of pounds of apparel and footwear out of landfills.

In April, Marks & Spencer announced its Shwopping campaign, which also encourages customers to recycle old clothing at M&S clothing stores. The retailer, which set a goal of recycling as many clothes as it sells — 350 million a year — gives all of the “shwopped” clothes to Oxfam.

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