The first of any of the global retail giant’s clothing collections to be compostable, H&M is hoping to change the conversation around sustainability in the fashion industry with its new collection. The retailer is focusing on marketing to millennial parents, giving new parents more peace of mind around their purchase patterns. The U.S. alone throws away up to 11.3 million tons of textile waste each year, which comes out to around 2,150 pieces of clothing every second, making fast fashion and clothing a genuine environmental catastrophe. By some estimates, the number of articles of clothing produced each year has doubled since 2000 and the average U.S. shopper throws away the equivalent of about 70 pairs of pants per person in waste from clothing and footwear each year.
In fact, most clothing gets thrown out after only 7-to-10 wears, and that’s just for adult garments. Babies grow quickly and gain weight rapidly in their first six to nine months, meaning they go through clothing at a much faster rate. Within their first two years, newborns outgrow on average 7 whole clothing sizes as they transition to the toddlers stage. That’s why H&M is hoping its compostable baby collection will spur incremental change. With over 4,000 stores worldwide, the company is well positioned to be a leader in sustainable fashion and keep more clothes out of landfills.
The biodegradable collection consists of 12 pieces, including tops, bottoms, jackets, hats, and blankets. The fully compostable clothes feature adjustable cuffs and foldable waistbands making them extendable and modifiable enough to handle any sudden newborn growth spurts. The organic cotton items are 100% biodegradable down to the pigments used for the designs, and they eschew buttons and metal trims. Once the clothes are worn out, they can simply be tossed into an at-home compost pile.
What’s more, the collection from H&M is certified circular by the non-profit Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. To be Cradle to Cradle certified, products must use materials free of chemicals harmful to the environment and humans, be produced with 100% recycled water and renewable energy, and more. Each product in H&M’s baby collection was assessed across five categories of sustainability performance: product circularity, clean air and climate protection, material health, social fairness, and water and soil stewardship.
Additionally, H&M recently partnered with Australian parenting platform Kiindred to launch a new online hub focused on creating a connection with new and expecting parents. The “H&M and YOU” online hub will also integrate a shoppable e-commerce hub allowing customers to discover and purchase more sustainable baby clothing items.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Family Engagement Strategies.