Swiss used clothing recycler I:Collect is planning to launch a Japanese subsidiary that will encourage shoppers to bring in their used garments in exchange for a voucher, according to the Asahi Shimbun. The company said it decided to launch Ico Japan Co. because the country is in the early adoption stage of recycling.
“Japan is believed to be a developing country still in terms of recycling as the rate of recycling for used clothing remains low,” said Akifumi Okamoto, who will become president of the Japanese subsidiary. “We want to make collection boxes for used clothing a regular fixture in Japanese stores.”
I:Collect purchases the collected secondhand clothing and shoes. The recyclable goods are then sold to clothing stores and other companies, while those items that cannot be recycled into garments will be reprocessed into materials for automotive heat insulation and other products. I:Collect, which partners with Swedish fast-fashion giant H&M, has already placed collection boxes in H&M’s 29 Japanese outlets, including those in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka, since March. The marketing of this service will need to take into account the barriers and benefits to Japanese consumers adopting the new behaviours, which may include the creation of both social and financial incentives.