Every year, millions of garments are discarded in landfills – left to rot and waste in dumps, absorbed by the air, seeping into the earth and diffusing its way to our local communities. Despite being almost 100% recyclable, textile waste continues to be the second biggest polluter of clean water and the environment! According to global fast-fashion giant, H&M, as much as 95% of clothes thrown away could have been re-worn or recycled. The staggering facts have prompted retailers like H&M and Zara to do something about it’s growing wasteful reputation: reuse and recycle items instead of throwing them away at respective storefronts across the world.
Fashion waste innovators like local Green Queen Hero, Christina Dean of Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO working to cut waste in the fashion industry works tirelessly to minimize the negative impacts of fashion. So the next time you grow out of that *insert garment here* and can’t swap it with friends or family, think about donating it. Consider dropping off your unwanted textiles at any of these shops instead of mindlessly throwing them with your household trash and clogging our landfills. Give your once loved garments a new lease on life and lets help close the loop on our fashion waste. One earth = one love. 🌎
Since 2013, H&M, has been a leader in fashion sustainability – launching an in-store recycling initiative worldwide. Customers can drop off any articles of clothing, shoes or accessories at any H&M store across the globe in marked bins. Parting with global solutions provider, I:CO (short for I:Collect), unwanted textiles are carefully sifted and sorted to be re-worn again as secondhand items, re-used into other products such as cleaning cloths, or recycled into textile fibers to be used for things like insulation. Recycled textiles are donated to social projects and recycling projects like The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel to develop technology to recycle blend textiles like polyester.
Click here to find a H&M near you.
A social eco enterprise in Hong Kong run by local ,charity St James Settlement, Green Ladies is on a mission to promote eco-friendly habits by offering locals to drop off their preloved fashion garments for donation or operate on consignment. Looking to impact environmental and social change in our city, this nonprofit organization has been encouraging secondhand fashion and middle-aged women employment since 2008. Their motto: Try Before You Buy, Think Before You Trash rings true at all three locations spread throughout Hong Kong. Visit their stores to check out their collection service.
Click here to a find Green Ladies branch near you (Sai Ying Pun, Wan Chai, Lai Chi Kok, Wong Tai Sin).
Zara x Redress
Teaming up with local NGO, Redress, to reduce waste in the Hong Kong fashion industry, this collaborative aims to give your preloved clothes a new lease on life. Bring your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories to Zara, where they provide collection containers in-store for you to drop off. The Galician fast fashion retailer will then deliver donations to Redress to sort and redistribute to either reuse, repair, resell, recycle, or up-cycled (donated to emerging fashion designers in Hong Kong) to finance the social projects developed by Redress. If they are deemed unusable, clothes will then be down-cycled to use as stuffing materials or rags through their local community partners.
Click here to find a participating Zara near you.
The Salvation Army
An international Christian church and charity, The Salvation Army has served in Hong Kong for over 85 years. Their Recycling Program welcomes personal donations of clothing and goods where they get sorted, distributed and sold at Family Stores throughout Hong Kong and Macau. For large quantities of clothing (five large bags or more) or heavy items such as televisions, washing machines and the like, a pick-up service may be arranged. Proceeds will go to The Salvation Army to use across community programs.
Click here to find a Family Store near you.
The Hong Kong government also offers used clothes donation bins/collection centers though we are unclear what happens to them – here is a complete list.
Images courtesy of Love Your Clothes UK (lead), H&M, Green Ladies, Zara, and The Salvation Army.