FROM FAST FASHION TO FUEL
We have a confession to make and in a word it's overconsumption. This December MARE's trend squad made a pact not to succumb to the consumer temptation that December seems to entail. We failed miserably. You know how it goes with last minute wardrobe stress for this, that and the other Xmas party followed by New Years celebrations. One wants to look on fleek, hence one ends up doing some last minute shopping - often at fast fashion retailers.
The silver lining, with regards to the temptation of fast fashion, is brought to us by H&M. The Swedish retail chain has successfully been fuelling a power plant in Västerås, a city west of Stockholm, by burning discarded clothing. In fact, as part of the effort to become the region's most fossil-fuel-free nation, this forward thinking station plans to ditch coal (entirely by 2020) and is opting for moldy garments which H&M is unable to sell.
“H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use,” said Johanna Dahl, head of communications for H&M in Sweden, to Bloomberg. “However it is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mold or do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals are destroyed”. And this may just be the beginning. Reportedly, Sweden’s hydro, nuclear, and wind plants are quickly becoming a blueprint of what large global corporations and governments can do to enact more sustainable practices.
H&M has dabbled in the realms of environmental responsibility as well. In Spring 2017, the H&M Conscious Exclusive collection marked their deep dive into Bionic Yarn. Say what? Basically, Bionic Yarn is soft ad usable fabric created out recycling recovered plastic that washes up on beaches.
As for the plant in Västerås, Bloomberg noted that it replaced burning 400,000 tons of trash with 15 tons of H&M clothing instead. Now that is certainly sustainable. Sounds like fast-fashion could be the coal industry’s biggest threat.