Companies do their part for Earth Day

Store employee Siti Farrah Umaina showing old clothes collected at H&M's outlet in Orchard Building. During H&M's World Recycle Week, donors will receive two 15 per cent discount vouchers for each bag of old clothes.
Store employee Siti Farrah Umaina showing old clothes collected at H&M's outlet in Orchard Building. During H&M's World Recycle Week, donors will receive two 15 per cent discount vouchers for each bag of old clothes.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

H&M, FairPrice and Nespresso celebrate today's global event with eco-friendly drives

Ms Cherie Low, 42, went into H&M's flagship store in Grange Road on Tuesday with two shopping bags.

The IT executive was not there to shop, but to contribute old clothing to a round-the-year garment collecting initiative started by H&M in 2013 to promote sustainability.

It encourages people to drop off their unwanted garments and home textiles at its stores to be recycled as second-hand clothes or reconstituted into other products such as table cloth.

This week also marks H&M's first World Recycle Week, and it is giving two 15 per cent discount vouchers for each bag of unwanted garments brought in for recycling. Outside of this week, it gives one discount voucher.

H&M's week-long event coincides with Earth Day, observed today to celebrate life on earth. The movement started in the United States in 1970 and is now marked in nearly 200 countries each year.

In its global initiative across 61 countries with over 3,900 stores, H&M has so far collected more than 22,000 tonnes of old garments - as much fabric as in over 100 million T-shirts.

The retailer's green efforts also have a charity element. For every kilogram of items collected, H&M will donate two euro cents to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, a charity that provides pocket money to students from low-income families. Since 2013, H&M has donated €784, the equivalent of S$1,191.75, to the fund.

Apart from H&M, others in Singapore are also celebrating Earth Day through their initiatives.

Home-grown supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said yesterday that it generated 1,300 tonnes of food waste last year, a 41 per cent drop from 2,200 tonnes in 2014. This was achieved with the "Great Taste Less Waste" programme started last year, in which fruit with slight blemishes and cut vegetables were repackaged and sold at marked- down prices.

Said FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng: "As we celebrate Earth Day this year, we encourage everyone to play their part to reduce food waste."

Meanwhile, coffee giant Nespresso has launched its "One Pod at a Time" campaign to encourage more people here to recycle their used Nespresso capsules.

All capsules collected are separated into aluminium and used coffee grounds. The aluminium is melted and reused for new aluminium products while the coffee grounds are used as compost for organic vegetable farming at Quan Fa Organic Farm off Lim Chu Kang Road.

Consumers such as Ms Low, who was unaware of the charity component of H&M's green initiative, said she was glad to be able to help in more than one way. "By clearing my wardrobe, I enjoy lower prices (for my next purchase), help save the environment and contribute to charity. That's killing four birds with one stone!"

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2016, with the headline 'Companies do their part for Earth Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe