A H&M store in Stockholm has installed the world’s first in-store clothes recycling system, aptly named Looop.
Consumers in Sweden now have the opportunity to transform unwanted garments into new clothes in just eight steps.
In short, the old fibres are mechanically shredded apart before being knitted back together into a ready-to-wear design.
This means there is absolutely no need to grow any more cotton. There is also no need for water or dye as the only added component is a ‘sustainably sourced material’ that re-strengthens the yarn.
The technology, developed by The Hong Kong Research Instistue of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) in collaboration with then non-profit H&M Foundation, provides the fashion industry with a huge platform to build sustainably from.
Currently, the industry is depleting the world of its natural recourses. With 20,000 litres of water needed to produce just one kilogram of cotton it is easy to recognise how 1.5 trillion litres of water are used by the fashion industry each year.
Moreover, with research showing that 200 tonnes of fresh water are needed to dye one tonne of fabric it is no surprise that the sector has been placed under increasing pressure to transform its production methods.
By utilising and re-inventing circular fashion, Looop can negate the obscene water levels needed to grow cotton and create new clothes, instead simply reusing the materials already created.
Pascal Brun, head of sustainability at H&M, said: “We are constantly exploring new technology and innovations to help transform the fashion industry as we are working to reduce the dependency on virgin resources.
Getting customers on board is key to achieve real change and we are so excited to see what Looop will inspire.”
While it is important not to become carried away as the machine is the first of its kind, pairing the scientific ingenuity used to put Looop into practice with proper funding raises the possibility to mould the fashion industry into a self-sustainable entity.