Clothing retailer H&M has said a dress it launched earlier this year dubbed as one of the world’s first truly recycled clothing items has been “greatly appreciated”.
The dress is part of H&M’s conscious collection, made from 50% recycled denim and 50% wood pulp
While H&M has said the dress- retailed at £99.99 – has been well received, it gave no indication if it was going to launch another similar line.
The vast majority of textiles which are recycled are sorted and re-worn in other countries, predominantly in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Current technology means it is difficult to recycle them into new clothes, but markets do exist for things such as wipers, mattress fillings and insulation. This is mainly for lower grade material which is more difficult to sell on.
The move by H&M was praised by Alan Wheeler, director of the TRA, who told let’s to recycle that the body “welcomes” moves to include the recycled fibres derived from old clothing in the manufacture of new textiles.
“Because jeans are usually of a similar colour blue and a relatively homogenous nature this makes them relatively easy to recycle compared to other textile products,” he explained.
Mr Wheeler added: “However, even then most new denim products that contain post-consumer recycled fibres, only contain around 20% recycled content. Manufacturers have found that if they put more recycled content in the denim it does not perform well enough.
“So with this product being made from 50% recycled content that does seem to be a promising development.”
The dress is made from a “new innovative material” called Circulose, from material manufacturer Renewcell.
Mr Wheeler added that only by businesses attempting such moves, will the textiles sector “stimulate demand” for recycling grades that will help to improve circularity.
“Whilst demand for re-useable clothing is generally strong the same cannot be said for recycling grades which is the Achilles heel of our sector,” he commented.
Mr Wheeler added: “The values obtained by the sale of what is usually high-value re-useable clothing helps to offset the cost of collecting/sorting the low value (or no value) recycling grades.”
An H&M spokesperson said: “The dress was very appreciated and we are thrilled that we could introduce this new more sustainable material to our customers and fans. The use of new, innovative more sustainable materials clearly shows H&M groups commitment to become 100% fully circular.”
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