H&M offers million dollar reward for clothing recycling ideas

September 3, 2015 1 By Amanda Giasson

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H&M is looking for new techniques to reused old clothes and is willing to pay for them.

Due to mixed materials and the poor quality of recycled cotton, recycling clothing isn’t easy, but this hasn’t stopped the Swedish multinational retail-clothing company, H&M, from doing everything it can to find ways to recycle old clothes. While the company has launched previous clothing recycling initiatives, such as its global garment collection initiative, it’s now offering a $1.16 million reward for new ideas to reuse old clothes.

Winners will be selected by a public online vote.

H&M is looking for ideas that can help it improve on its innovative textile recycling techniques. Five winners will be chosen and the prize will be split among them. A public online vote will determine the winners. With the exception of established companies, anyone can enter to win the “Global Change Award”, which will be given by the H&M Conscious Foundation.

Recycling Clothing - H&MKarl-Johan Persson, the CEO of H&M, said that “No company, fast-fashion or not, can continue exactly like today.” In regard to the reward, Persson said that “The largest potential lies with finding new technology that means we can recycle the fibers with unchanged quality.” He added that “Ground-breaking, game-changing ideas can come from anywhere, so the challenge is open to anyone.”

The winners will take part in an “innovation bootcamp” in Stockholm, Sweden, with the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. H&M will work with the winners in an effort to make their ideas a reality.

H&M’s clothing recycling initiative has resulted in the launch of its first recycled clothing collection.

Back in February 2013, H&M began a recycling initiative that rewarded $8 vouchers to customers who brought a bag of any unwanted clothing (regardless of the brand) to its stores. Since this time, the retail giant has collected 14 million tons of clothing worldwide and has partnered with I:CO to arrange the discarded clothes of customers, selecting items for shredding or reselling.

Now, H&M has launched its first denim collection made from collected recycled clothing. The clothing collection features items for men, women and children. They are comprised of 20% recycled cotton from the textiles that were collected, with the reaming 80% from organic cotton. The collection will be available in all H&M stores around the world and at their online stores this month.

H&M hope to increase its recycling efforts in the future, and plans to increase the amount of recycling cotton it uses in the clothing it sells.