Swedish Store to Stop Burning Unsold Clothes

Ahlens Clothing Ad photo

Spring's here, Åhlens says in ads, meanwhile promising it won't burn anymore perfectly usable clothes.

Popular Swedish department store Åhlens announced it would stop the common practice of gathering unsold clothes that are at the end of the sales chain into containers and shipping them to be burned, reported Dagens Nyheter last week. Instead, Åhlens said it would work with non-profits Stadmissionen and Myrorna to put the clothes to better use. Of course, this begs the question of how a clothing shop could have ever thought it was a good idea to burn clothes once they'd reached the bottom rung of the sales chain, rather than give to organizations currently hurting for donations! Read on for embarrassed Swedes' response to the good question of why they so totally dropped the ball on "reduce, reuse, recycle." Haven't they ever heard of "outlet store"?Åhlens is privately owned and has nearly 300 stores spread across Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and 5,000 employees. Though the company has worked with the Salvation Army and others previously, the practice of burning unsaleable clothes that the company says were dirty or in disrepair was a common one - done since the store first started, according to its CSR director Filippa Bergin. The company's former policy was to destroy the clothes by cutting them, and then send them in containers to the trash, which is Sweden can be synonymous with incineration. This was specifically done, according to Swedish Radio, so that the clothes could not end up in second-hand stores.

Bergin said that textiles are "difficult to recycle," (she must not have known about Sweden's Orkan Lia) and that it is only with the recently popularity of second-hand clothing stores in Sweden that it now makes more sense to find a way to donate the clothes! Which is what Åhlens announced that it would do in the same week that the original article was published showing a container in the city of Växjö filled with clothes on their way to the fire. This bothered many Swedes, who can still remember the days when their mothers or grandmothers used strips of old rags and clothes to weave rugs, still commonly found on the floors of hallways and rooms.

And what about the other large Swedish clothing distributors? H&M; is reported to find away to pass along all of its surplus to Helping Hands. And underwear maker Bjorn Borg shipped a lot of collected clothing to former President Bush. Hope he recycled. Via: Swedish Radio
Read more about clothes recycling and repurposing
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