AQUA, H&M Expand On Bottle2Fashion Initiative To Reduce Plastic Waste

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Working together to mitigate the marine plastic debris issue in Indonesia, bottled water company Danone-AQUA and Swedish retailer H&M Indonesia have stepped up with their bottle2fashion initiative, in which they produce sustainable kidswear from recycled plastic bottles. Together, the companies are supplementing the launch of a sustainable kidswear product line under a worldwide campaign called Cleaning Up for the Future – to boost people’s awareness on the importance of addressing ocean pollution caused by plastic waste.

Made in Indonesia, the collection is available for purchase at id.hm.com and 12 H&M stores throughout Jakarta and its satellite cities, Surabaya in East Java, Bandung in West Java, as well as Bali. The collection will also be made available across various online and offline H&M stores in Asian, African and European countries, as well as in the United States as part of the global campaign to educate consumers, including children, on how they can participate in a collective effort to mitigate marine pollution issues. The global campaign also seeks to invite consumers to take action to keep the environment clean for a sustainable future.

The bottle2fashion initiative is the brainchild of the companies’ partnership to introduce a circular product made from recycled plastic waste, incorporating a sustainable means of production into more sustainable daily wear.

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In 2017, Indonesians started to take the issue of marine plastic debris more seriously after 2015 data from researcher Jenna R. Jambeck was released, ranking Indonesia second on the list of the world’s biggest plastic waste producers with 187.2 million tons of plastic trash, after China with 262.9 million tons. In the same year, Danone-AQUA and H&M Indonesia launched the bottle2fashion initiative, initially focusing on manufacturing gloves and socks from recycled plastic only.

The campaign encapsulates the companies’ support for the Indonesian government’s effort to reduce marine plastic waste by 70% by 2025, as well as bringing plastic pollution down to almost zero in 2040. The campaign was launched in the same year as the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister’s launch of the Alliance for Marine Plastic Solutions Forum.

According to Danone Indonesia senior sustainable packaging manager Ratih Anggraeni, the bottle2fashion initiative has successfully gathered 129 tons of used plastic bottles from Thousand Islands regency, a popular eco-tourist spot with a national park located on the northern coast of Jakarta.

“This embodies our effort to prevent plastic waste from polluting the ocean, a manifestation of our #Bijak Berplastik [UsePlasticWisely] movement,” Ratih said.

Meanwhile, H&M Indonesia regional sustainability manager Anya Sapphira said she was proud to collaborate with Danone-AQUA to support a wider national and global cause. “Ocean plastic waste is a global issue, I believe each nation can contribute to solving this problem, so do corporations.

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Our company wants to contribute positively to the country where it operates,” Anya said during a virtual press conference. Ratih explained that Danone-AQUA had also helped locals in Thousand Islands regency to establish community waste banks in public spaces and schools.

She went on to say that helping establish proper infrastructure for waste recycling was only half the story. In order for the environmental initiative to be successful, Danone-AQUA has partnered with local NGOs, schools and the local tourism awareness group to educate the public at large on the importance of recycling plastic waste.

The plastic bottles collected from Thousand Islands will be transported to Danone-AQUA’s recycling business unit in South Tangerang to be sorted and cleaned before being shredded into smaller pieces. Afterward, the business unit will send the shredded plastic to H&M Indonesia’s production facility to subsequently convert it into polyester and various fashion products available in H&M stores worldwide. “This cleaning-up for the future campaign with Danone-AQUA supports our vision toward using 100% circularity using sustainable resources.

The kidswear collection from recycled plastic bottles is part of our effort to achieve 100% recycled and sustainable production means for H&M brand by 2030,” H&M Indonesia communications manager Karina Soegarda said.

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According to Anya, currently the kidswear line comprises about 20-40% recycled polyester and about 60-80% organic cotton. Anya went on to say that H&M was also highly concerned about the environmental impact of microfibres and the company was currently investigating how it could drive research forward to come up with technological innovations which could help prevent microfibre shedding from clothing items during the washing process.

The supply chain from the kidswear collection reflect both companies’ consistency in coming up with innovative and holistic solutions to marine plastic pollution, which is beneficial not only to Indonesia but also the world. The campaign also sends a message that innovative solution with a wide impact is only feasible through multi stakeholder partnerships involving industries, communities, NGOs, academic institutions, mass media and government institutions.

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