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H&M Group invests in new recycling technology company re:newcell

London - H&M Group, parent company of leading Swedish fashion retailer H&M, has taken a minority stake in Swedish company re:newcell to help speed up its transition to a circular business model. Re:newcell uses a new technique to recycle used cotton, viscose, and other cellulosic fibers into a new, sustainable dissolving pulp. In turn, this pulp can be used to make new textile fibers and fed into the textile production cycle.

The investment will help H&M achieve its ambitious goal of using 100 percent recycled and other sustainably sourced materials by 2030. "Re:newcell´s technology has the potential to become a commercial and scalable solution for the industry and accelerate the journey from a linear fashion industry towards a circular one", said Cecilia Brännsten, Acting Environmental Sustainability Manager, and circular economy lead, at H&M group in a statement.

"I am proud that H&M group sees the advantages of our innovation," added Mattias Jonsson, CEO of re:newcell. "Together we can contribute to changing the way fashion is produced and recycled." In order for the H&M Group to move to a circular business model, it must find solutions to substitute the fibers it currently uses with recycled fibers or other sustainably sourced alternatives, which is why the group is working with numerous initiatives.

At its plant in Kristinehamn, Sweden, re:newcell uses both used clothes and residues from textile production to create new fibers, decreasing the amount of textiles dumped in landfills. Its plant features a closed loop production system for chemicals and water and uses renewable energy and is able to produce 7,000 tons of pulp per year, with additional units being planned.

"This is the link that has been missing from the production cycle. re:newcell has closed the loop," added Jonsson. "The way fashion is produced and consumed can hopefully be transformed into a never-ending loop in the future." News of the sustainable fiber investment comes as H&M stands accused of incinerating 12 tonnes of unsold, usable apparel per year in Denmark rather than recycling it. H&M has denied these claims, arguing the clothing destroyed was not safe for recycling.

Photo: courtesy of H&M