Large-scale study by H&M Group and IKEA shows potential to transform the way we use recycled textiles


To join the two companies ?? targets to use only 100% recycled materials or other sustainable sources by 20301, a key step is to find clean and reliable sources of recyclable materials.

To address these industry-wide challenges, H&M Group and Inter IKEA Group launched a large-scale study on the chemical content of recycled textiles in 2019. The aim of the study was to strategically increase knowledge, overcome challenges related to data exchange, and boost chemical transparency across the industry. Collaboration is key to enabling real change within the textile industry, and during fall 2020 more brands joined the study as contributors. With all the companies involved ?? size and presence, there is a great opportunity to lead the way. Although the study is now finalized, there is still a lot of work to be done.

?? With the collaboration of the industry, we can overcome the common challenges on our way to transform ourselves into a circular enterprise. This study allowed us to share data through a digital platform, creating transparency and knowledge sharing, as well as creating facts to help us take the next steps in our journey to use only materials. recycled and renewable ??.

Mirjam Luc

Project manager for recycled textiles at IKEA of Sweden

Post-consumer cotton, wool and polyester wastes from different parts of the world were tested, resulting in a total of 70,080 data points. 2.5% of data points showed unwanted detections, but less than 1% of data points exceeded AFIRM RSL2 limits. The post-consumer polyester samples exhibited the greatest variety of substances detected. In post-consumer wool samples, almost all samples contained at least one substance that did not meet AFIRM RSL limits. Addressing the presence of legacy chemicals and hazardous chemicals in recycled materials will be key to achieving circularity within the fashion and textile industry.

• To achieve fully circular and long-lasting products, legacy chemicals should be avoided from the start. Only through industry collaboration and a transparent and harmonized risk assessment methodology for all chemicals and materials ?? Can we be proactive and guarantee safe and sustainable products for a toxic-free textile future ??.

Linn Farhadi

Recycled Textiles Project Manager at H&M Group

H&M Group and IKEA will use the study results to support public policies to enable the use of recycled textiles, which are safe to use. The results will also be used to advocate for the establishment of a recognized and harmonized risk assessment methodology for chemicals used in production. This ensures that brands can assess the best chemicals available from a safety and recyclability perspective. All chemicals that hinder recycling and material recovery should be limited.

“It’s great to see companies working together to learn more about the chemical content of recycled textiles. We hope that studies like these will lead to cleaner material flows and also inspire lawmakers to accelerate the work of phasing out hazardous substances in products ??

Therese Kjell, Senior Policy Advisor at ChemSec

1 IKEA aims to use only renewable or recycled materials by 2030.

2 AFIRM Restricted Substance List (RSL Clothing and Footwear International Management Group (AFIRM))

About the H&M Group

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. The business idea of ​​H&M is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, & Other Stories, H&M HOME and ARKET as well as Afound. The H&M Group has 53 online marketplaces and approximately 4,900 stores in 75 markets, including franchise markets. In 2020, net sales amounted to SEK 187 billion. The number of employees is around 153,000. For more information, visit

About IKEA

IKEA offers high-quality, well-designed, functional and affordable home furniture that is made with respect for people and the environment. There are several companies with different owners, working under the IKEA brand, all sharing the same vision: to create a better everyday life for the many people. IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943.

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