On Monday, July 15, popular fashion retailer H&M announced a new initiative geared toward cutting down on plastic, with the aim to transition to using sustainable alternative materials in their packaging by 2025. Beginning next Thursday, H&M will start charging for shopping bags and is encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags.
All H&M outlets in Singapore will soon be charging customers S$0.10 for every paper or plastic shopping bag they use. H&M will also offer the sale of reusable bags in their stores. The proceeds from the sale of the bags will then be donated to WWF Singapore’s Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative.
The PACT initiative aims to work towards a “circular economy” for plastic use and eliminate plastic pollution. H&M, the first fashion company to be a signatory of PACT, is implementing long-term solutions to decrease the amount of plastic going in and out of its stores.
“This move is part of H&M’s circular packaging strategy which consists of longer-term measures to reduce its plastic use,” said H&M. “As part of PACT, H&M has also committed to time-bound goals of eliminating unnecessary packaging, transitioning to reusable materials and ensuring the use of recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025.
“With this in place, we aim to encourage our customers to join us in sustainable actions by bringing their own reusable bags or purchasing them from our stores if they do not already own one.”
Sales will go towards PACT’s measures of researching into plastic pollution, undertaking conservation projects and identifying sustainable alternative materials for packaging.
H&M, the world’s second-largest fashion group, has been working hard to make moves toward a more environmentally-friendly way of conducting its business.
The Swedish clothing retailer already has an in-store, clothes recycling initiative where customers can pass on clothes they are not using. H&M has clothes recycling boxes in their stores for this very purpose, and customers are invited to take part by dropping off any and all articles of clothing that they no longer want.
In Sweden, H&M is announcing a project for selling second-hand clothing online.
“To create a more sustainable fashion future, we need to take the lead by tackling some of the most significant challenges that are facing our planet and society,” said H&M’s Country Manager of South East Asia Fredrik Famm.
WWF Singapore said that H&M’s move toward reducing plastic in their packaging “comes at a crucial time where we need bold action to change how plastics are produced, used and disposed of”.
“A bag charge, proven to be effective in reducing plastic use, is a crucial step that retail businesses can take to stop plastic pollution,” said WWF Singapore’s chief executive officer Maureen DeRooij.