Who needs coal? A Swedish power plant is burning H&M clothing instead

[Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images]
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Ditching coal is fashionable in these eco-minded times, but one Swedish power plant is replacing coal with fashion itself—by burning discarded clothing from H&M.

While Sweden uses a combination of hydro, nuclear, and wind power to provide nearly emission-free power to its country, there are a few municipalities that still use coal and oil, including the city of Vasteras. The city’s power plant is now converting from oil- and coal-fired power to burning recycled wood and trash, including clothes from the local H&M warehouse. The fossil-free, fashion-powered fuel was revealed in a Swedish national television program on Tuesday, and reported on by Bloomberg last week.

In a statement to Bloomberg, H&M assured that the fast fashion company is not selling clothes to the plant that could still be used by people in need. A representative for the company said it has a legal obligation to destroy clothing that contains mold or clothes that “do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals.”

So far in 2017, the power plant has torched about 15 tons of clothing that doesn’t live up to H&M’s standards, as well as around 400,000 tons of other trash collected from Sweden, and even imported waste from the U.K.

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