“The results gathered could potentially also serve as a base for further legislation and standardisation regarding chemicals in recycled textiles.”
Fashion giant H&M Group and furniture giant Ikea are collaborating on a large-scale study which looks at chemical content in post-consumer textile recycling.
According to H&M, the chemical content of collected pre-owned textiles are unknown, so to ensure the safe reuse of materials in the circular system, the fashion giant and Ikea are hoping to “ensure good chemical management”.
The research for the study began in May 2018. However, H&M (@hm) and Ikea (@IKEA) only presented some initial findings from the study earlier this month at the Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference.
“Recycled materials are key elements in a circular economy. However, increasing the use of recycled materials whilst ensuring that we keep these textiles free of toxic chemicals presents a challenge for the industry. We’re pleased to announce that H&M Group and IKEA have joined forces in a study to address this challenge,” said Anna Biverstål, Global Business Expert on Materials at H&M Group.
“By sharing initial findings from the study, we can create awareness and a new understanding to review the entire value chain of textiles, from production and consumption, towards recycling,” added Linn Farhadi, Project Leader Recycled Textiles at H&M Group.
H&M and Ikea both said that they were conducting more than 8,000 tests on collected recyclable textiles in order to have “better possibilities to develop an action plan for the use of recycled textiles, while meeting our strict safety standards”.
The ambition for the study is also to use the findings to encourage industry peers towards increased use of recycled textiles. The results gathered could potentially also serve as a base for further legislation and standardisation regarding chemicals in recycled textiles.
The initial focus for the study has been post-consumer cotton, with polyester and wool rich post-consumer textiles to be included as the study progresses.
H&M concluded: “Collaborations and data sharing within and across industries is key to enable real, positive change. This joint study between H&M Group and IKEA serves as a great example of this approach.”
Mattias Bodin, sustainability business expert for materials and innovations at H&M’s Global sustainability department, will be speaking at the World Bio Market Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, next year.