Unknown Chemical Contents in Recycled Textiles? Combined IKEA & H&M Group Study brings Clarity!

Lack of knowledge about the chemical contents within recyclable textiles cause serious challenges for the textile industry in reaching its circular goals.

Since IKEA and H&M Group both have the ambition to tackle these challenges, they have collaborated on a large-scale study looking at chemical content in collected recyclable textile, with a focus on cotton as the first step. Nils Månsson, Materials and Innovation Deployment Manger at IKEA Range and Supply states: “Transforming into a circular economy and making use of recycled materials, requires the industry to have an aligned approach to material development, including which types of substances and levels, are safe.”

Collected recyclable textiles often consist of mixed materials, with chemical contents that are unknown. That is why large-scale studies are needed, where several chemical substances are tested. This study consists of over 8,000 tests made on recyclable cotton textiles, which were randomly collected from different organisations and recyclers in Europe. Even though the study sheds new light on the topic, IKEA and H&M Group have decided to continue with the study and as a next step conduct tests on collected recyclable polyester and wool rich textiles.