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Ikea, H&M team up to explore recycled textiles potential


Swedish home furnishings big box chain Ikea and fashion industry giant H&M have teamed up to explore the potential and challenges in using recycled textiles to meet their 2030 sustainability targets. The companies collaborated on a new databank to help improve efforts.

The companies first teamed up in 2019 with a study looking at the chemical content in recycled textiles and begin to strategically increase knowledge in order to shift the industry to more sustainable practices. That research project was also joined by Adidas, GAP, and PCH Corp., among others.

The research looked at post-consumer materials including cotton, wool, and polyester. The samples were ranked across more than 70,000 data points, with 2.5 percent showing “undesirable detections” of chemicals.

According to the findings, nearly all wool samples showed at least one of the AFIRM restricted substances (Apparel and Footwear International Restricted Substances List Management).Now, the companies say they are using the findings to support policy initiatives that would allow for recycling of textiles deemed most likely to be safe. The brands are also working to ensure brands have access to methodology and tools to restrict dangerous chemical-containing textiles.

Both Ikea and H&M Group have been hard at work to reduce their emissions and increase sustainability initiatives. IKEA has set a 2030 deadline to ensure 100 percent of its products are 100 percent circular by only using renewable or recycled materials. It has also embraced the shift away from meat in its cafes and markets, with the goal of making 50 percent of its menus plant-based by 2025.

H&M continues to offer collections featuring sustainable materials. Last month the retailer was named the Global Compact LEAD as part of the United Nations Global Compact and its Ten Principles for responsible business.