15 October, 2020
It’s been all about closing the loop this week.
First, fast-fashion giant H&M announced a new in-store recycling machine, which will disassemble old H&M clothing and re-assemble the material into new textiles in five hours. The machine, which is called Looop, will be the first of its kind to separate textile blends that are hard to recycle, before spinning them into new yarn for new items. Currently, only 12% of clothing sold globally is recycled, so if this new technology could be licensed out to H&M’s peers, this could be a brilliant solution for increasing recycling rates and decreasing the number of clothes reaching landfills.
Secondly, IKEA announced their buy-back-scheme for used IKEA furniture that customers no longer want. The scheme – launching on Black Friday – will see customers receive an IKEA refund card, that is equivalent to a percentage of their item’s original price and also dependent on the condition of the product. Items will then be re-sold by IKEA as second-hand or recycled.
These initiatives are definitely progressive moves forward, but they rely on customers returning to store or sending items back via post. Circular solutions also need to exist alongside drastic reduction targets to conserve resources and minimise overproduction, which will require a systemic shift towards slow fashion, furniture and consumption more generally.
By Gemma Coate