H&M, Wal-Mart and Clothing Waste

From The New York Times, here’s a piece that relevant to Sew Weekly’s mission of thoughtful consumption.

At the back entrance on 35th Street, awaiting trash haulers, were bags of garments that appear to have never been worn. And to make sure that they never would be worn or sold, someone had slashed most of them with box cutters or razors, a familiar sight outside H & M’s back door. The man and woman were there to salvage what had not been destroyed.

Update: The New York Times reports that H&M has promised to stop destroying clothes and instead donate them to charities.


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. That is atrocious business practice! Not only wasteful, but all of the people who are in need of clothing, the poor, the ministries that have so many they could pass the unused clothing out to — that is just ridiculous and embarrassing. Shame on H&M. I don’t have one where I live, but have in the past bought items there in other cities. Never again.
    By the way, love your blog! I’m feeling inspired to try my hand at apparel sewing this year, or at least altered clothing and to buy less from stores (including my beloved Anthro).

  2. That’s crazy. I should not be surprised, but I am. Wow. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I found this waste disgusting and shameful for so many reasons.

  4. Somehow, I missed this article in the Times. Thanks for posting, tho’ it honestly makes me sick to my stomach to think of the waste.

  5. At least Target sends their leftovers to Goodwill! Just another reason not to shop disposably, I suppose…
    Looking forward to seeing more :)
    xo, mj

  6. I can’t even believe this! Its insane and so right you are to make and appreciate your own clothing or shop thrift only. Its sad that we waste so much. I agree completely with Lisa, its so disgusting and I’m completely ashamed for them.

  7. Thank you for linking these articles. Definitely makes me want to know how the clothing stores I frequent operate as far as leftover clothing/waste.
    Great blog!

  8. When I worked at a retail store this was practiced as much as I begged to take stuff to my local salvation army. Winter coats, shoes, and suits were thrown in the dumpster outside, although they weren’t cut first although the labels were cut out. I did some research and this happens EVERYWHERE. Most stores do it if they can’t find or can’t be bothered with finding a place to donate the clothing/other items to. I’m just SO GLAD this is finally getting some press and people are beginning to get angry!!

  9. I used to work at H&M and was mad that they did this as well. But, the news article left out that H&M only does it to items that are already damaged. I was told that they didn’t want to donate them because they don’t want to give people damaged items.