It is always encouraging when a very successful company takes a break from raking in piles of money to give back. In February 2013, clothing retailer H&M will begin a global recycling program, allowing shoppers to exchange used clothing for discounts at their stores. They will accept any piece of clothing in any condition. That means you could theoretically bring them an acrylic hat you bought at a gas station with a couple of cigarette burns in it, and they’d have to take it, though it’s not yet clear that they’d have to give you very much of a discount in return.
Right now, 95 percent of discarded clothes end up in landfills, and it is good that H&M is doing something to offset this. (They’re still working off karmic debt from the time they were caught slashing discarded clothes in New York.) H&M may be purveyors of disposable clothing, but if it works, the recycling program might make disposable clothing go the way of other disposable trash: something that you use and toss out because you’re a wasteful jerk, but not before conscientiously sorting it into recycling piles so it doesn’t all go straight to the landfill.
H&M Global Recycling Program, Seattlenet.
Get Grist in your inbox