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I:Collect to start garment recycling in Japan

Japan – Swiss used clothing recycler I:Collect AG is to start up a Japanese subsidiary that will encourage shoppers to bring in their unwanted garments in exchange for a discount voucher.

According to the company, the launch of Ico Japan Co. comes when Japan is in the development stage regarding the recycling of old clothes. ‘The rate of recycling for used clothing remains low,’ says Akifumi Okamoto, who will become president of the Japanese subsidiary. ‘We want to make collection boxes for used clothing a regular fixture in Japanese stores.’

I:Collect, which is partnering with Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M, has placed collection boxes in H&M’s 29 Japanese outlets – including those in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka – since March this year, according to a report in ‘The Asahi Shimbun’ newspaper.

I:Collect purchases collected second-hand clothing and shoes. The recyclable goods are then sold to clothing stores and other companies, while those items that cannot be recycled into garments will be reprocessed into heat insulation materials for the automotive sector and other products. The retailer offers a Yen 500 discount voucher (around US$ 5) to customers who bring in a bagful of clothing. The voucher is valid for purchases of Yen 3000 or more.

Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, I:Collect is under contract with 46 foreign companies such as clothing retailers and department stores.

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