They’re utilising mouldy clothes that would have otherwise been thrown away
A power plant in Sweden is aiming to become fossil fuel-free by 2020 by burning recycled wood and rubbish, including unusable clothes from H&M. Jens Neren, the head of fuel supplies, says that to them, the clothes are a “burnable material” and that their goal is to “use only renewable and recycled fuels”. Those cullottes of yours just got even more multi-functional.
They have a deal with the neighbouring city to burn their rubbish, some of which comes from H&M’s central warehouse. Joanna Dahl, head of communications for H&M in Sweden, told Bloomberg that “H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use. However it is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mould or do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals are destroyed.”
So far in 2017, the plant has burned 15 tonnes of unusable clothes and 400,000 tonnes of trash. The commitment to becoming fossil fuel-free is just another step in Sweden’s quest to be as environmentally friendly as possible – it has an almost entirely emission free power system, and they’re hoping to convert all old plans to burn biofuels and trash over the next two years.
Last year, the brand held its first Recycle Week, an initiative that encouraged customers to return old clothes to stores for vouchers – with the items collected being recycled into new garments. The campaign was fronted by M.I.A., who released a music video for the cause. The campaign drew some criticism from the likes of Greenpeace, who branded it a marketing effort.
Back in June, a report by the Changing Markets Foundation found that H&M, Zara, Marks & Spencers and other high street stores were linked to material made in polluting factories, found to be contaminating local water sources and damaging health. The report said the brands were buying viscose from factories with questionable working practices in Indonesia, China and India. Viscose is said to be an ethical and sustainable alternative to other materials like cotton or polyester, touted as such because it’s a plant-based fibre, but the ‘toxic run-off’ has been found to be contaminating local water supplies and increasing cancer risks.