H&M and IKEA study highlights potential of recycled textiles

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2021-10-08 09:51:28 – Sweden

Inter Ikea, the holding controlling the Swedish furniture giant Ikea, and the Swedish fashion giant H&M Group launched a large-scale study to examine the chemical composition of recovered textiles in 2019. These findings of the study will be used by H&M and Inter IKEA to raise awareness about chemical content in recycled textiles and to influence legislation related to the circular economy.

H&M stated that finding clean and dependable sources of recyclable materials is a vital step toward both firms' goals of only using 100% recycled or other sustainably produced materials by 2030. Collaboration is critical for real change in the textile sector, and additional brands joined the research as contributors in the autumn of 2020. With the size and presence of all of the organizations participating, there is a wonderful potential to lead the way. Even though the study is now complete, there is still more work to be done.

Mirjam Luc, project leader for Recycled Textiles at IKEA of Sweden, said that they can overcome common hurdles on their road to becoming a circular business by working together as an industry. This study has enabled them to share data via a digital platform, resulting in transparency and knowledge sharing, as well as statistics to help them take their next steps on their road to only utilize recycled and renewable materials.

The study states that a total of 70,080 data points were collected from post-consumer cotton, wool, and polyester waste originating from various parts of the world. While less than 1% of the data points violated AFIRM RSL2 limitations, 2.5% of the data points revealed unwanted detections The most diverse range of chemicals were found in post-consumer polyester samples. Almost all post-consumer wool samples included at least one chemical that exceeded AFIRM RSL limits. In order to achieve circularity in the fashion and textile sector, it will be necessary to address the existence of legacy chemicals and dangerous chemicals in recycled materials.

Linn Farhadi, project manager for Recycled Textiles at H&M Group, said that legacy chemicals must be avoided from the start to achieve fully circular and future-proof products. They can only be proactive and achieve safe and sustainable goods for a toxic-free textile future through industry collaboration and a clear, harmonized hazard assessment methodology for all chemicals and materials.

The findings of the study will be used by H&M Group and IKEA to support public policy that allows for the use of recycled fabrics that are safe to use. The findings will also be used to push for the creation of a widely accepted and harmonized hazard assessment approach for chemicals used in manufacturing.

Theresa Kjell, senior policy advisor at ChemSec, said that it's excellent to see businesses collaborating to learn more about the chemical content of recycled fabrics. They believe that research like this will result in cleaner material flows and also push legislators to accelerate the process of phasing out hazardous compounds in products.

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