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Source: H&M

H&M's New Denim Collection Is Made From Recycled Goods

By Tessa Love

It's no secret that fast fashion is not the cleanest enterprise. In fact, aside from oil, it's the second dirtiest industry in the world, taking into account the pesticides used in cotton farming and the toxic dyes used in manufacturing, as well as the huge amount of natural resources used in extraction, farming, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, and shipping. For example, it can take up to 650 gallons of water to create just one cotton T-shirt, and manufacturing synthetic fibers causes pollution. 

When it comes to fast fashion, there's no name bigger than H&M. For years, the company has been pushing out affordable, trendy wears. And as much as people love the brand, many of the company's clothes end up clogging up the waste stream instead of hitting the town on a Friday night. Americans throw away 14 million tons of clothes per year – or 80 pounds per person – and 84 percent of those end up not in a thrift store, but in either a landfill or an incinerator.

Knowing that they are part of the problem, H&M has made a commitment to cleaning up their act. Last year, they unveiled a new sustainability mission, which aims to infuse an eco ethos into every aspect of the business. The first step was its "take-back" program, a clothing recycling program that made every store not just a shopping destination, but an old-clothing drop off location as well.