Here’s how it works:
You take in one bag of old clothing to an H&M store in the UK, and they will give you in return a voucher for £5 off the next time you spend £30 or more.
Clothes can be in any condition and from any brand or shop, not just H&M, and you can take a maximum of two bags a day.
Why does the Swedish retailer want your old clothes? It’s part of their recently revamped corporate social responsibility programme – they want to reduce the amount of clothing that goes to landfill every year, currently estimated at 500,000 tonnes a year.
With this new initiative, H&M take your garments and one of four things happens: Clothes in good condition are sold on the second hand market; if they can’t be sold the materials are recut into other products like cleaning cloths; if they can’t be reused the textiles are recycled; any other textiles are used to produce energy.
So nothing goes to landfill, and any money that H&M makes is put back into the scheme or donated to charities.
I don’t know about you, but this is all music to my ears, mainly because H&M is far and away my favourite high street shop. I’d say my wardrobe is composed of at least 40 per cent H&M. Just the other week, I went in intending to buy only a little black and white spotty dress I’d seen previously and ended up, one hour and £75 later, with two pairs of denim shorts, a dress, two tops and a three-pack of socks. I can’t get enough of that sweet Swedish goodness, and a £5 voucher would have taken the edge off the bout of shopper’s remorse I felt that day.
I think the only slight qualm I have with the new scheme is that it might mean shoppers are less likely to donate their old clothes to charity shops, for whom second hand goods are, of course, vital. But, on the other hand, I recently threw away a bunch of clothes simply because their aren’t any charity shops near me that I could take them to, so I guess H&M are helping to discourage that too.
So why not grab those various bits and bobs lurking in your wardrobe that you’re clearly never going to wear again and trade them in for some H&M dinero?
Read more about the H&M garment collection scheme and find your nearest store at www.hm.com/longlivefashion.
Oh, and here are some of the pieces I picked up during my last visit. Basically this whole outfit, black denim shorts (£14.99) and a black fringed top (£14.99) with glow in the dark embellishment, a look which I christened ‘Coachella meets the Roaring Twenties.’
And this is the original polka dot dress (£12.99) that led to my accidental shopping spree.