Swedish power plant opts to burn H&M clothes instead of coal

A combined heat and power plantà‚ in Sweden is using clothing discarded by well-known retail chain Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) instead of the conventional coal and oil fuel previously used.

The Vasteras plant, outside Stockholm, has decided to go with (unsellable) clothing and wood-based power as part of its strategy to go fossil-fuel free by 2020.
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“For us it’s a burnable material,” said Jens Neren, head of fuel supplies at Malarenergi AB, a utility which owns and operates the 54-year-old plant. “Our goal is to use only renewable and recycled fuels.”

Sweden is attempting to push out its remaining coal and oil-based practices in order to go fossil free.

“H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use,” Johanna Dahl, head of communications for H&M in Sweden, told Bloomberg. “However it is our legal obligation to make sure that clothes that contain mold or do not comply with our strict restriction on chemicals are destroyed.”

The Vasteras plant burned about 15 tonnes of discarded clothes from H&M so far in 2017, compared with about 400,000 tons of trash,à‚ Neren said. Malarenergi has deals with several nearby cities to receive rubbish and even imports waste from Britain to fuel its main boiler.

On Tuesday, the facility, which powers about 150,000 households, saw the last coalà‚ ship à‚ supply the plant’s two remaining fossil-fuel generators from the 1960s with enough supplies to last until 2020. Then a new wood-fired boiler will be added to supplement the facility’s existing biofuel and trash burning units.

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