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The Latest in Sustainability: H&M’s rPET Apparel, Canada Goose Under Fire, Seaqual Tackles Underwater Plastic

Sustainability remains a top initiative among industry members, as ocean pollution continues to mount and animal abuse remains an issue.

Acknowledging the need for change, brands and organizations are coming together to facilitate greener practices in the greater apparel supply chain.

From H&M to PETA, here are some new ways companies are working to reduce fashion’s carbon footprint.

H&M creates apparel from plastic bottle waste

H&M is pursuing a greener solution for ocean pollution, which involves turning plastic bottles into garments.

H&M Indonesia, Danone and other global partners of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation attended The Alliance for Marine Plastic Solutions Forum in Bali this week to highlight circular economy solutions. By 2030, the group aims to recover more plastics and create a circular economy of packaging.

By partnering with Danone, the parent company of water bottle brands Aqua and Evian, H&M can boost plastic bottle collection efforts and eventually turn bottles into recycled polyester material. H&M says it is the second largest user of recycled polyester in the world and last year, the company used recycled polyester equivalent to more than 180 million PET bottles.

Dubbed the Bottles to Fashion initiative, the companies are working together to reduce marine littering in Indonesia. First, plastic bottles are collected across the nation, then Indonesia-based textile company, Kahatex, buys the recycled PET and produces recycled polyester garments for H&M’s stores and website. With the initiative, H&M and Danone can work together to promote a more circular fashion economy in upcoming years.

[Read More on H&M’s environmental efforts: H&M Steps Up Efforts to Eliminate Water Pollution in Turkey]

PETA urges Canada Goose to ban coyote fur

Canada Goose is not in good graces with animal welfare organization PETA.

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On Wednesday, honorary PETA director and actress Pamela Anderson wrote emails to more than 800 Canada Goose employees—calling on them to pressure the company to stop selling coyote fur. In her email, Anderson noted that many other brands and retailers, including Giorgio Armani and The North Face, have switched to animal-free fur, in response to the ongoing animal abuse in the outerwear supply chain.

“Despite what your employer might tell you, the traps used to catch wild coyotes to trim Canada Goose’s coats crush the animals’ necks or snap shut on their legs, often cutting to the bone,” wrote Anderson. “Please, use your insider advantage to urge Canada Goose to make this simple transition to animal-friendly faux fur or remove the fur trim entirely.”

PETA, which advocates against animal fur use, pointed out that trapped animals, including coyotes, have attempted to chew off their own limbs to escape death. If the trapped animals, which are often used for outerwear fur, don’t suffer in the process, they are often shot and killed by the trapper. PETA investigations also found that birds are abused and crowded into sheds before their feathers are used for outerwear apparel.

Canada Goose has not provided comment on PETA’s email.

Seaqual turns ocean plastic into sustainable thread

Seaqual is going underwater to resolve a major environmental problem—unseen ocean pollution.

According to Seaqual, eight million tons of garbage ends up in the world’s oceans and an estimated 75 percent of waste remains under the surface. The Spain-based company currently collects plastic from the bottom of the ocean, recycles plastic materials and develops them into an eco-friendly filament for fabrics.

What makes Seaqual’s project stronger is its strong maritime network—more than 1,500 fisherman and 400 boats from the Spanish Mediterranean coast are helping the company collect plastic. Garbage collected from their nets is brought to different ports, where the waste (including plastic, glass and aluminum) is collected weekly and categorized for the proper recycling chain. PET plastic is then converted into flakes and an eco-friendly polymer. Once the 100 percent recycled polyester thread is created, it is used to create fabrics, which are transformed into garments.

Seaqual aims to broaden its reach beyond the Spanish Mediterranean coast and onboard other global areas to protect oceans worldwide.