Case Study: H&M


smart garment collection bins

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H&M wanted to give its existing Garment Collecting Program a boost by making it more exciting for customers to donate used clothing. Their aim was to create an innovative in-store installation that would raise awareness of the program, show what the program has achieved, and make customers feel good for contributing.

How does it work?

Sustainability is a key part of H&M’s brand. The garment collection initiative has been running worldwide since 2013. They accept used clothing in any condition, from any brand, in any store. Donated items are then recycled or reused. In addition, for every 50lb (22.6kg) of clothing collected through the program, H&M plants a tree via its partner One Tree Planted.


Ombori, in association with Microsoft and ITAB, developed a smart recycling bin that incorporates an interactive screen and an integrated scale. In order to ensure maximum visibility the automated bin was placed near the checkouts in H&M’s flagship store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. When the customer makes their donation, the smart bin automatically weighs the clothing. The screen then thanks them for their donation, tells them how much they have contributed.


It displays the total amount of clothing collected via the bins both at their local store and at other stores nationwide. This helps donors feel that their donation is appreciated and shows them that what they are doing is making a real difference.


Donors can share their experience on social media to encourage their friends to participate in the program.


Finally, donors can scan a QR code to access online information about H&M’s sustainability initiatives and what they are doing to reduce their environmental impact.


The bins are integrated with Microsoft Teams. This allows them to notify staff via mobile and smartwatch when they need to be emptied.


  • The smart bin was launched in January 2020 in the H&M store in Manhattan’s 5th Avenue.
  • After the success of the New York pilot installation, the smart bins will be rolled out across the USA during early 2020. They will be installed in H&M stores in Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta and Houston.
  • For 2020, H&M aims to collect five million pounds (2.3m kg) of recycled clothing through the smart bins in the USA. This will enable the company to plant 100,000 trees in association with the One Tree Planted organization.