For H&M to send our products for incineration is very rare, it’s only done when they do not fulfill our safety regulations; if they are mould infested or do not fulfill our strict chemical requirements. We are very concerned as to why some media would suggest that we would destroy usable clothing. There is absolutely no reason for us to do such a thing.
The products to which the media are referring, have been tested in external laboratories. The test results show that one of the products is mold infested and the other product contains levels of lead that are too high. (four independent tests show a result between 707-5237 ppm lead which highly exceeds H&M’s limits of 90 ppm). Those products have rightly been stopped in accordance with our safety routines.
According to the test we have, the test for lead performed by the Danish program did not include the whole garment, and not the part affected levels of lead that are too high. The other test performed by the Danish program did not include tests for mould (instead “Kim” and “E-coli” which is bacteria and not mould). This is the reason why our tests differ.
When test results show that certain products do not fulfill our safety regulations they should not under any circumstances be neither sold to our customer or be recycled. They will therefore be sent to destruction in accordance with our global safety routines. H&M has one of the strictest Chemical Restrictions in the industry and we do regular testing, often in external laboratories. Accordingly, the restrictions often go further than the law demands as we want our customers to feel totally safe to use our products.
Products stopped for other reasons than health and safety are either donated to charity organisations or re-used through re-use/recycling companies. Those products in stores that are not sold at full price are sold at a reduced price through our sales. We also actively move garments to stores or markets where we see a greater demand, or store them for the next season. At a last resort, we consider external buyers of our overstock.