H&M Diverted 760,000 Plastic Bags from the Landfill In 2019

Swedish multinational clothing retail giant H&M was the first fashion retailer to join the Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative.

The PACT initiative is an industry-led initiative that aims to eliminate plastic pollution in nature and move towards a circular economy on plastics. WWF recognises the pivotal role businesses play in plastic pollution and set up this initiative to guide businesses on the best practices to reduce single-use plastic.

This implementation comes as part of H&M’s long term commitment and circular packaging strategy ‘Choose to Reuse’.

Their goal: reduce plastic packaging by 25% (2018 baseline), replace single-use plastic packaging with reusable alternatives where possible, eliminate all problematic or unnecessary plastic, and ensure that at least 25% of the plastic they use is from recycled content by 2025.

H&M and WWF have been in a global partnership since 2011, aiming to make the fashion industry more sustainable. The partnership focuses on water stewardship, sustainability strategy and climate action.

In 2019, as part of PACT’s Retail Bag Charge initiative, H&M started charging 10 cents for every plastic or paper bag used when shopping in their stores in Singapore. In just a year, more than 760,000 bags were reduced.

Ms Mayuri Raj, brand ambassador and showroom executive of H&M Singapore & Malaysia, believes that it is a necessary initiative moving forward.

“We managed to reduce the amount of plastic and paper bags significantly within the first week,” said Ms Raj.

All proceeds were donated to WWF-Singapore to support critical projects under PACT, where it helped to fund research for sustainable alternatives and ongoing conservation efforts on marine ecosystems. It also includes the Alternative Material Tool (AMT) built by WWF-Singapore to help businesses make informed decisions in their procurement process.

H&M hopes that this will encourage their customers to bring their own reusable bags and join in on living sustainably.

Having been with H&M since 2018, Ms Raj loves the dynamic pace of her work and the difference it makes with their customers and now – the environment.

A bag charge is a crucial step that retail businesses can take to stop plastic pollution

Sustainability is a Lifestyle

On her own, Ms Raj reduces her plastic consumption by bringing her own containers for takeaways; she also donates whatever household items and clothes she can away to charities.

“As an ambassador, I feel that educating customers would be the best thing to do for all retailers and the like,” said
Ms Raj.

“There are different ways to personalise purchases and emphasising the environmental impact would be a great way for the general consumer to start learning what choices are more sustainable.”

Her tip on leading a sustainable lifestyle? Take it one step at a time.

It can be daunting if you are just beginning your journey to living sustainably. Ms Raj advises to first make little changes like reducing plastic straws and bags and ‘before you know it, it will come naturally to you’.

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