In our commitment to closed-loop sustainability, we are helping the best in the field develop and improve recycling technology – with the near objective of making new raw materials of equal or better quality than those collected, and creating a closed-loop production cycle. By 2020, we will invest USD 3.5 million in this field, as mentioned in our Global Fashion Agenda commitments. As part of this, we cooperate with Lenzing, the Austrian producer of the plant-based sustainable textile fibre TENCEL™ Lyocell, for the manufacture of premium textile raw materials from our textile waste.
We are also championing research into technology for the creation of new textiles from recycled garments together with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and specific Spanish universities as Vigo University (in cooperation with Clermont, in France), País Vasco, Granada (together with Hamburg, in Germany) and Politécnica de Valencia.
Reuse and recycle in our own operations
We also reuse and recycle in our own operations where we can, aiming to achieve our target of zero waste to landfills by 2020. For instance, in our stores we have a dedicated system for collecting clothes hangers and security tags so that they are reused, repaired or recycled. We managed to do this to 100% of our tags and hangers in the last year, accounting for 120 million and 1,201 million units respectively. We recently added fluorescent tubes, pallets and bags to our internal reuse systems too.
The cardboard boxes travelling between our distribution hubs and our stores also have a long life. They carry clothes to our stores and come back with clothes hangers and other materials, making the journey on average six times before they are recycled.
Zara has incorporated in its stores new bags made from 100% recycled and reusable paper, which have have FSC sustainability certification. These new bags reduce the use of ink by more than 70% and saves more than 30% on water consumption during production. In 2020, we will have deleted all the plastic bags in all our brands and, in 2023, we will have 100% single-use plastic free to customers.
As part of our Green to Pack project, whose primary objective is to optimise the packaging used throughout the supply chain and reduce waste of any kind as much as possible, the gift envelopes will also be replaced, the design matching the new bags and online order boxes.
We are also innovating so all plastics we do need in any of our activities are designed to be safely reused, recycled, or composted; and circulate everything we use to keep it in the economy and out of the environment, as addresed in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with UN Environment. By 2023, all single-use plastics will have been totally eliminated for customers sales.