The collection of 12 organic cotton garments for newborns launched last May and included blouses, pants with adjustable waist and cuffs, jackets, hats, and blankets.
H&M's U.S. Sustainability Director, Abigail Kammerzell, said that all items were 100% biodegradable, including the pigments used to print designs on the clothing, and the garments also deliberately lack buttons or any metal embellishments. This is to ensure that each piece can be composted at the end of its use, even by placing them in a home composter.
The collection is certified by the environmental group Cradle to Cradle for using materials free of chemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment, and for producing the items with renewable energy and 100% recycled water, and it’s the first of its clothing collections that is compostable.
Given H&M's global scale with more than 4,000 stores worldwide, the company is in a position to enable big changes in the fashion industry, and strives to be a leader in sustainability and keep clothes out of landfills. This latest effort by the Swedish fashion retailer comes amid rising volumes of clothing waste globally and growing concern about the contribution to this from fast fashion.
Today, we buy 60% more clothes than 15 years ago, we wear them half the time, and a third of what we have in our closets we have not worn in the last year. In landfills, these kilos of clothes decompose very slowly, releasing methane gas, which contributes very negatively to the greenhouse effect.
The Swedish fashion company also installed an on-site recycling system for end-of-life clothing, called Looop, in one of its stores in Stockholm, which spins old fibers into new garments. The company claims it is the world's first in-store clothing recycling system and a major step towards circular fashion.
In just eight steps, Looop cleans and shreds the discarded garment and weaves a new one from the old fibers, without using water or dyes. The company claims that the only thing added is a sustainably sourced material to strengthen the yarn, as the mechanical shredding shortens the fibers of the old garment.
Sourcing Organic Cotton
H&M is a member of the Better Cotton Initiative, sourcing the finest quality sustainable cotton. It’s been using certified organic cotton since 2004, and all organic cotton used is independently certified and each garment is clearly identified with a hang tag. Also, H&M was the world's largest customer of organic cotton producers in 2010.
The brand has invested millions of euros to help hundreds of thousands of cotton farmers to grow more cotton with less water and fewer chemicals through training courses provided by Better Cotton in collaboration with initiatives with partner organizations such as WWF and Solidaridad.