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H&M Foundation-backed textile recycling facilities open in Hong Kong

H&M Hennes & Mauritz AB said Sept. 3 that its nonprofit arm H&M Foundation opened two textile recycling facilities in Hong Kong through its partnership with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel, or HKRITA.

The launches come about a year after a research program backed by H&M Foundation and conducted by HKRITA unveiled a new hydrothermal solution to separate and recycle fibers from blended fabrics.

The Swedish apparel company said one of the new facilities will put HKRITA's recycling technology into use at full scale so that other fashion brands and international stakeholders can have the opportunity to see, test and implement it into their own operations.

Erik Bang, innovation lead for H&M Foundation, said in a statement: "As we scale up and make this technology freely available to the industry, we will reduce the dependence on limited natural resources to dress a growing global population."

The other Hong Kong facility is open to the public and features a smaller-scale garment-to-garment recycling system with a retail outlet, where customers can recycle their old clothes to make new ones.

The garment-to-garment system is a collaboration between HKRITA, H&M Foundation and Novetex Textiles Ltd., a Hong Kong-based yarn spinner.

H&M Foundation first partnered with HKRITA in September 2016 and expects to invest €5.8 million with the research institute over four years, using funds sourced through the surplus from H&M's in-store garment collecting programs.

H&M is aiming to only use either recycled or sustainably sourced materials for its apparel by 2030 in a bid to reduce the company's environmental footprint.