The Next Economy
H&M, M.I.A. Aiming to Rally 1,000 Tonnes of Garment Donations for World Recycle Week

To celebrate the first World Recycle Week April 18th to 24th, fashion retailer H&M is partnering with artist and singer M.I.A. on an ambitious global garment collection campaign. H&M aims to collect 1,000 tonnes of unwanted or worn out clothing items across its over 3,600 worldwide stores. To raise awareness, an exclusive M.I.A. music video will debut on April 11th at hm.com. The video will highlight the environmental impact of clothes going to landfills around the world.

To help “make Garment Collecting a natural part of the life of clothes,” the campaign will also promote “rehaul” videos using the hashtag #HMrehaul. H&M intends to reverse the idea of “haul” videos – which show items recently purchased – by encouraging customers to upload clips showing the pieces they’re recycling through the H&M Garment Collecting project during World Recycle Week. Alongside the video by M.I.A., bloggers and characters from the video will film clips showing the items they’re recycling through the campaign as well.

The campaign seeks to break H&M’s previous collection records; since launching Garment Collecting at H&M in 2013, the retailer has collected over 25,000 tonnes of clothing. Customers are able to bring any unwanted or worn out garments and textiles, from any brand and in any condition, to any H&M store worldwide and in return, they will receive vouchers to use at H&M. It is part of a larger effort by H&M to reduce the amount of clothing sent to landfills and “close the loop in fashion.” H&M introduced new garments made from recycled textile fibres in 2014, and became a global partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in November 2015.

Other companies have launched similar recycling programs, such as The North Face’s Clothes The Loop, while startups have developed sharing schemes. Yet a staggering amount of clothing still ends up in landfills. In the UK, more than £150 million worth of clothes is thrown out every year – nearly 368,000 tonnes; in the US, it is estimated at up to 10 million tonnes per year.

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