H&M recycling scheme seeks future for sustainable fashion

Looop garment-to-garment recycling system involves eight steps that significantly lowers environmental impact compared to producing clothing from scratch.

Fast fashion allows consumers to constantly update their wardrobe with trendy ready-to-wear items. The overconsumption, however, comes at a cost as discarded clothing eventually leads to tons of textile waste.

Recycling is one of the means to reduce the environmental impact. Non-profit H&M Foundation together with research partner Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) and Hong Kong-based yarn spinner Novetex Textiles have created the recycling system Looop, which dissembles and assembles old garments into new ones.

The process involves cleaning and shredding the clothing into fibres that are spun into new yarn, which is then knitted into new fashions.

Because the mechanical shredding shortens the fibres, as little as possible, some sustainably sourced virgin materials need to be added in order to strengthen the yarn.

No water or chemicals are used in the process, thus having a significantly lower environmental impact than when producing clothing from scratch.

Last Monday, the world's first in-store garment-to-garment recycling system was launched at an H&M branch in Stockholm, Sweden, for customers to see how the container-sized machine transforms old textiles.

For 100 Swedish krona (352 baht), members of H&M loyalty club can use Looop to transform their old garment into something new. For non-members the fee is 150 Swedish krona. All proceeds go to projects related to research on materials.

Looop is part of H&M's bigger plan in becoming fully circular and climate positive, as the company is working on other projects in innovating materials and processes, while inspiring customers to keep their garments in use for as long as possible.

In propelling a real change towards sustainable fashion, HKRITA will license the Looop technology widely to help the entire industry become more circular.

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