Clothes not coal incinerated by Swedish power plant

Image by Mike Mozart via Flickr Creative Commons license 

The fortunes of a lagging coal industry were not helped by the actions of a Swedish power plant last week.

The heat and power station northwest of Stockholm aims to become free of fossil fuel use by 2020. To do that and keep the operation running, it has brought in recycled wood and trash to burn, along with damp and soiled clothes that clothing retailer H&M can't sell.

“For us it’s a burnable material,” Jens Neren, head of fuel supplies at Malarenergi AB, the utility which owns the plant, told Bloomberg. “Our goal is to use only renewable and recycled fuels.”

The story appears to serve as a bit of fortunate PR for H&M, which stands for Hennes & Mauritz AB. When contacted for comment by Bloomberg, the head of communications for H&M in Sweden said: “H&M does not burn any clothes that are safe to use. 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.”

Sweden is mostly powered by hydro, nuclear and wind plants, but some cities still use coal and oil as supplemental heat during cold days.

Read the full Bloomberg story here