This Swedish Power Plant Is Burning H&M Clothes For Fuel

Danish TV show Operation X accused H&M of burning more than 12 tonnes of unsold clothes each year, following an investigation into the high street shop back in October.

Since, the company has stepped forward to defend itself saying that it only burnt clothes that were not safe for sale. Today, one Swedish power plant is making the most of the excesses of fast-fashion by burning the clothes for power instead of coal.

(Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr/CC)

Announcing plans to definitively stop using fossil fuels by 2020, the Swedish plant is looking for new stuff to burn, including recycled waste, wood and unwearable H&M clothes. 

As said Jens Neren, head of fuel supplies at the utility that owns the plant says: "For us it’s a burnable material. Our goal is to use only renewable and recycled fuels."

 To date, the plant has burnt around 15 tonnes of unused clothes and around 400,000 tonnes of other waste. Johanna Dahl, head of communications for H&M in Sweden explained to Bloomberg via email:


"H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use,” Johanna Dahl, head of communications for H&M in Sweden, said by email. “However it is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mold or do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals are destroyed."


This is just the latest step towards a more sustainable future for Sweden. Swedes are said to recycle almost 100% of their household waste and the country is striving for zero waste by the year 2020

The same, however, cannot be said for H&M. Last year, the group organised its first Recycle Week in partnership with M.I.A. but the initiative was widely criticised by organisations like Greenpeace that saw the event as nothing more than a publicity stunt. 

Back in June, H&M, alongside M&S and Zara, was linked to polluting viscose factories in Asia. While it seems that this latest development is based around a legitimate recycling scheme, it's little compensation for the wider dangers of fast-fashion.