H&M Garment Collection Project

Case study curated by Yizhen Li, Peter/Panayiotis Kyprianou & Hanbin Liang/Kevin

“Bring garments you no longer want, from any brand and in any condition. We’ll make sure they get a new life.”

Every year tons of textiles (including old clothing) end up in landfills. Even worse, about 95% could have been recycled or reused. To help reduce waste, retailer H&M is encouraging customers to bring in shopping bags of old clothes. Since 2013, the company has collected more than 25,000 tonnes of clothing. In exchange, they’ll give you a coupon good for 15% off any one item in a future purchase.

This is all part of the Long Live Fashion program. The ultimate goal is to have zero garments going to landfill, as well as saving on natural resources. To put it into perspective, by recycling just one t-shirt 2100 litres of water can be saved — roughly the amount used to manufacture one from start to finish. Stores accept any brand of clothing (it doesn’t have to be H&M) in any condition, even torn. Collected clothes are shipping to the nearest processing plant for sorting. Some are reused, others recycled into other items. You can bring in up to two shopping bags of clothes per day to your nearest H&M store. All are participating in this worldwide project.

Once the old garments have been dropped off in a store, collect and sort them into three categories:

  • Rewear – clothing that can be worn again will be sold as second hand.
  • Reuse – old clothes and textiles will be turned into other products, such as cleaning.
  • Recycle – everything else is turned into textile fibres, and used for things like.