What if an unwanted pair of socks could change the fashion system? H&M has developed a machine that dispels and assembles old clothes into new ones with “looop” – the world’s first in-store recycling system. ‘looop’ opened to the public at an H&M store in Stockholm on October 12, 2020, with customers able to watch the container-sized machine recycle their old textiles into something new. here’s how it works – unwanted garment is fed into the machine to be cleaned, shredded and spun into yarn. after about five hours, a new knitted garment is made from the part placed in the machine. the system does not use water or chemicals, which has a significantly lower environmental impact than producing clothes from scratch.
in eight steps, “Looop” turns old clothes into new ones: 1. the old garment is sprayed with ozone to kill microorganisms; 2. the garment is shredded into small pieces of fabric fibers; 3. The shredded pieces are then filtered to remove dirt, and extra virgin material is added for added strength; 4. the mixture of clean fibers is straightened into a web of fibers and then drawn into strips; 5. several fiber ribbons are combined to create even stronger and thicker ribbons; 6. Ribbons of thick fibers are spun to create a single strand of yarn; 7. single threads are doubled and twisted together to increase their strength; 8. Finally, the yarn is then knitted in a new ready-to-wear pattern.
the innovative technology behind The H&M looop was developed by the hong kong textile and clothing research institute (HKRITA) in collaboration with the non-profit association H&M Foundation. from now on, “looop” is the only in-store recycling machine, but HKRITA will license the technology to help the entire industry become more circular.
the garment-to-garment recycling system is part of a larger plan for the company, which is working to become fully circular and climate positive. “We need to innovate in materials and processes while encouraging customers to keep their garments in service as long as possible. by 2030, we aim to have all of our materials either recycled or purchased more sustainably, a figure which for 2019 was 57%.
“ We are constantly exploring new technologies and innovations to help transform the fashion industry as we work to reduce reliance on pristine resources, ” says pascal brun, head of sustainability at H&M. “Engaging customers is key to making real change and we’re excited to see what the looops inspire.”
take a look at the designs that “ looop ” can transform into your favorite clothes, here.
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