STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish global fashion firm Hennes & Mauritz plans to start collecting old clothes from next year to hand over for recycling, it said on Thursday.
H&M, the world's second biggest fashion chain after Spanish group Inditex, said in a statement it will become the first fashion company to launch a clothing collection initiative worldwide.
"From February 2013, customers will be able to hand in used garments in H&M stores in all 48 markets," it said. Any items of clothing from any brand and in any condition would be accepted and customers would receive a voucher for each bag.
The collected clothes would then be handled by I:Collect, a global recycling company, which would transport them to a sorting plant in Germany, it said. The material could then either be re-used as clothes or for other products like cleaning rags or insulation material in the car industry.
H&M said tonnes of textiles were thrown out every year, when as much as 95 percent of the clothes could be used again.
Reporting by Patrick Lannin