H&M and other iconic fast fashion companies are now welcoming recycling into their stores. Fast fashion depends primarily on resource-heavy manufacturing and is based on a desire to trash the old and buy the new, so this is a welcome change for many consumers.
The consumers, namely Millennials and members of Generation Z, have come to expect transparency from the brands they support, including those fast fashion chain stores like H&M and Forever21. Analysts have reported in the past that the selling power of sustainability is growing, and it continues to do so in a market that demands it so frequently.
“Social influence, including social media, has also pushed brands to foster more sustainable practices and consumer behavior,” Emily Bezzant, head analyst at retail technology platform Edited, told Retail Dive last year. “Brands such as H&M have looked to balance fast fashion with sustainability.”
Now, H&M claims to be one of the largest retailers in the world using recycled polyester. Earlier this month, the company released a statement detailing its goal of relying solely on sustainably-sourced cotton by 2020.
“Our 100% circular vision and our goal to only use recycled or other sustainably sourced materials by 2030 plays a key role in our sustainability agenda,” Anna Gedde, head of sustainability for H&M Group, told GreenBiz.
And as part of their sustainability initiative, H&M and other retailers like Zara have invited recycling into their stores. Worldwide, almost 14.3 million tons of clothing are recycled or donated to charities. With a new recycling program, H&M may be able to donate to those causes as well.
The big picture is to reduce textile waste and prevent a greater need for landfill space. The company said in a public statement that it has already collected almost 40,000 tons of clothing since initially pitching this idea in 2013.
With any luck and thanks to initiatives like the ones listed above, the future of retailers like H&M will look brighter and greener.