Retailer responses

In addition to H&M Group, Marketplace contacted American Eagle Outfitters, Zara, Nike, adidas/Reebok, Levi Strauss & Co, and Forever 21 to ask about their recycling and sustainability programs in Canada. Here’s what they said.

Forever 21 did not respond.

American Eagle Outfitters

AEO had to remove some of these donation bins out of the stores as people were largely mistaking them for trash cans. To fix this, AEO now uses them at their corporate office and multiple distribution centers.


Zara has just begun their clothing collection projects in Canada with a pilot test in 13 stores, so we are unable to supply specific figures.

Inditex's Global Sustainability Strategy permeates the Group's entire business model and materialises in initiatives targeted specifically at each stage of the value chain, from the choice of raw materials and sustainable manufacturing methods to the efficient management of resources and waste at all its corporate offices, logistics platforms and stores.

Inditex's 2016-2020 Environmental Strategy Plan further develops this responsible circular economy model in all phases of the productive cycle.

To make it easy to lengthen the useful life of clothing, we are placing containers in our stores where customers can drop off used garments. This programme is already fully operational in 562 stores in eight countries (Spain, Portugal, the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, China and Sweden) in collaboration with various international NGOs. Planning is in progress for implementation of the scheme in another 22 markets, with pilot tests underway in some of these, including Canada (13 stores) and Austria (four stores).

All of the clothing collected in this manner is donated to the non-profit organisations with which we are working on this initiative, such as Caritas, the Red Cross, Oxfam or Salvation Army, among others. In Canada we have just started the pilot test with Salvation Army at the end of 2017 so for the time being we don’t have specific figures.

These organisations separate and classify each of the items received in order to send them to where they are of greatest use.

The Group’s research and development of more sustainable fabrics is also increasingly present in the product ranges. For example, Zara has launched its Join Life collection which focuses on the most sustainable fashion collections that prioritise the use of recycled materials and the most environmentally-responsible garment making processes. Zara introduced a new fabric for
this collection, Refibra © Lyocell, which is created from recycled cotton and fibre from sustainably-managed forests. Inditex collaborated with Austria’s Lenzing to develop this new material which is made from purely recycled materials.


Since 2010, more than three billion plastic bottles have been diverted from landfills and converted into recycled polyester for Nike performance products, such as new Nike Vapor football kits with Aeroswift technology. Meanwhile, the company’s ColorDry technology, which dyes fabric using zero water, has saved more than 20 million liters of water, and its Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled approximately 30 million pairs of shoes.

By FY20 Nike aims to have zero waste from contracted footwear manufacturing sent to landfill or incineration without energy recovery. Another example of Nike’s work to reduce waste and move toward a closed-loop model is Nike Grind, a palette of premium recycled and regenerated materials created from original materials and products. For example, Nike transforms old shoes and manufacturing scrap into high-performance Nike footwear and apparel as well as high-quality sports and play surfaces, including courts, tracks and more. Today, Nike Grind materials are used in 71% of Nike footwear and apparel products, in everything from apparel trims to soccer kits to Flyknit yarns.

Nike Flyleather is a great example of how Nike creates products while protecting our planet. This new super material — made with at
least 50 percent recycled natural leather fiber and water power —has the potential to be as game-changing as Nike Flyknit.

There’s a great piece from Hannah Jones, Nike Chief Sustainability Officer and VP, Innovation Accelerator, here.

For information specifically on reuse a shoe,

Although we have a reuse a shoe depot at our Employee Store in Toronto, we encourage Canadians to donate to a charity, such as Toronto Community Housing or the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.


Since launching in September of 2016, we’ve collected approximately 10,000 KG of used footwear and apparel from 43 stores in Canada (adidas and Reebok). 

55% of clothing collected is reused while 45% is recycled into new products.

Unfortunately, I do not have the specific list [of which countries are shipped second hand items] but can tell you they are distributed to over 90 countries.

Levi Strauss & Co

The volumes for the Canadian take back and recycling program are substantially smaller than those for the US and some of our European countries. As a result, we don’t track the breakdown for Canada specifically.

Forever 21

Did not respond.