H&M launches sportswear range made from recycled polyester

Clothing giant H&M has unveiled a new sportswear collection for women that is predominately made from recycled polyester, bringing the company closer to its goal of becoming truly circular by 2030.

H&M is placing its latest sportswear collection on sale Thursday (4 January), which is made “solely from sustainable materials”. The new activewear features a range of tights, sports bras, hoodies and tops that consist of recycled polyester and elastane (lyrca).

“By bringing together the functional and feminine, the aim is to give customers a stylish, conscious sports collection. And not just through the fabrics – we utilised a new knitting technique that creates seamless garments while using less yarn or fabric waste. Blending function with sustainable thinking and fashion in this way is the way forward,” H&M’s head designer of sportswear Petra Smeds said.

Prices for the new collection range from $9.99 to $49.99, although H&M is yet to disclose the percentage of recycled polyester in the new range. edie has reached out for clarification, but at the time of publication is yet to receive a response.

Circular vision

The new range characterises H&M’s vision of becoming a circular firm. The company has a goal in place to source 100% recycled or sustainable materials by 2030. As of 2016, H&M is more than a quarter of the way to this target and is currently one of the largest users of recycled polyester globally, alongside the likes of Nike.

In April last year, the Swedish retailer launched its Conscious Exclusive collection, which includes a full clothing collection for men, women and kids, and made from H&M’s pioneering ‘Bionic’ material – a recycled polyester made from plastic shoreline waste. The Swedish multinational has also developed a Conscious Exclusive fragrance made from organic oils.

That launch was just weeks after the company unveiled a new sustainability strategy to become climate positive by 2040 through ambitious closed-loop and renewable targets.

The new agenda sees H&M vow to create a “climate neutral” supply chain by 2030 before investment into offsetting measures will deliver the intended “net positive” impact by 2040.

H&M also purchases 43% of the company’s cotton from sustainable sources, such as the Better Cotton Initiative where H&M acts as the biggest certified user.

Circular economy principles, like the ones seen in the new activewear range, will be applied to 80% of H&M store concepts by 2025 and the company is striving to improve the collection of unwanted textiles. Since H&M signed up to the global Garment Collecting initiative in 2013, the group has collected 39,000 tonnes of unwanted textiles for reuse. 

H&M at the edie Sustainability Leaders Forum

H&M’s sustainability manager Catarina Midby is one of the expert speakers that will appear on stage at edie’s Sustainability Leaders Forum in January 2018.

Taking place on 24-25 January, the Sustainability Leaders Forum will bring together more than 600 ambitious professionals moving beyond environmental objectives to deliver transformational change and create brand value every year.

The two-day event, which runs alongside the Sustainability Leaders Awards, will feature interactive workshops and enhanced networking to give you the most comprehensive and immersive experience on the day. For more information and to book your place at the Forum, click here.

Matt Mace

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