Cleaning out our closets is a great opportunity to get our space organized, remove items that are out of style or ill-fitting and make room for new items.
But when making bags of items we no longer want to wear, it may be hard to decide what to do with them next. Tossing them feels like the wrong answer. It’s wasteful, can be bad for the environment and eliminates the chance for others to benefit from what we no longer need.
One great eco-friendly option is to stop by a retailer that has some version of a reduce, reuse and recycle program. These stores will often accept gently used clothing, shoes and accessories and reward customers with discount coupons or store credits. If you are looking to clean out your closet and not let those garments just go to waste, this can be a great option to make room for some new clothes this season in a way that everyone feels good about.
We can always donate our old clothes to charity or find ways to repurpose them into something new, but by recycling them, everyone wins. We can avoid waste and pollution, and give those clothes new life. And we may even earn rewards or cash back in the process!
H&M Clothing Recycling
How it works: It doesn’t get much easier than this. Just drop by any H&M store location in the world and drop off your old clothes. They will take clothes in any condition, from any brand. They’ll even take half a pair of socks. Not only will they take any of your old clothes (or linens) for recycling, but they’ll reward you for helping out the planet by giving you a discount card for your next purchase.
The Salvation Army Clothing Recycling
How it works: To make a clothing donation to The Salvation Army, just drop off your items at the donation center nearest to you. These items are then often sold at a deep discount at their thrift stores, with proceeds going to community causes such as alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers. You’ll then get a donation receipt for your taxes, and also the knowledge you have helped people who are less fortunate.
Madewell Clothing Recycling
How it works: You can drop off your old jeans at any Madewell store and they will either get repurposed through Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program or if still wearable, will be put back into the world through ThredUp’s rescue program.
For any other clothes, you can print out a shipping label on the Madewell site and send your old clothes to ThredUp. They will resell or recycle it and you’ll be rewarded with Madewell credit in the amount of the resale profits. Talk about a win-win all around.
Levi’s Clothing Recycling
How it works: Cotton Inc.’s Blue Jeans Go Green ProgramTM lets you drop your jeans off at any Levi’s store and they will help recycle them. If you want to “recycle them” in a different way, you can drop off your old Levi’s jeans, denim shorts and jackets at participating stores. These items will be cleaned and sold as secondhand, keeping it out of the landfills and avoiding waste. As a reward, you’ll get a gift card towards a future purchase.
Gap Clothing Recycling
How it works: Gap also has a partnership with ThredUp. To recycle your old clothing, just drop by a store location and pick up a free Clean Out Kit. Then box up everything you cleaned out of that closet, be it clothing, shoes or even accessories. ThredUP will resell those items and in exchange, you’ll earn Gap shopping credit. You also have the option to choose to donate the items instead via Give Back Box, and in that case, the box of used clothes will be sent to charities in need.
Universal Standard Clothing Recycling
How it works: This is a brand that has long been loved for body positivity and size inclusivity, but it’s also sustainable. Their Reset, Recycle and Refresh program will take your old used clothes and then recycle them into new materials. You’ll get a $25 credit for each piece that you send (up to four, or $100 total credit). They will accept clothes from any brand, too!
Uniqlo Clothing Recycling
How it works: Stop by a store location and drop off your gently used Uniqlo clothing. They do not offer credit or discount vouchers, but your reward will be the knowledge that the clothing you are no longer wearing will be donated to the needy. Clothes that aren’t reused will be recycled, thereby eliminating waste and giving it the best chance of continued use in some form.
The North Face Clothing Recycling
How it works: This outdoors clothing giant has an aptly named Clothes The Loop Program. Just drop off unwanted clothing and footwear regardless of condition or brand at any store location and get a $10 reward coupon toward your next purchase of $100 or more at The North Face. The items collected are sent to Soles4Souls, whose mission is to create sustainable jobs and provide relief via shoes and clothing.
Hanky Panky Clothing Recycling
How it works: While we generally don’t imagine lingerie as something that can have new life when we’re done with it, there’s actually a program that offers lingerie recycling. Hanky Panky’s Lingeriecycle allows customers to send used lingerie back to their local New York City partner Green Tree, to recycle their intimates into industrial insulation.
Once you break up with those old undies, it’s time to restock and in exchange. Those who use the Lingeriecycle program will receive 100x Hanky Panky points (equivalent to $10) to use on HankyPanky.com.
Parade Clothing Recycling
How it works: Another way to recycle that undies drawer is SecondLife by Parade, which allows customers to earn 20% off towards new sustainable basics. To take advantage of the program, just add a free kit to your cart while shopping. Use that kit to return and recycle any clean underwear and ship it back. Parade is working with Terracycle to turn that underwear into new recycled products like furniture, insulation and bedding. Then, collect your credit to refill that underwear drawer.
American Eagle Clothing Recycling
How it works: American Eagle lets their rewards club members bring in an already-loved pair of jeans and exchange it for a credit of $10 toward a new pair. The used jeans will be given new life through Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program, which will turn them into insulation.
Carter’s Clothing Recycling
How it works: Kids grow so fast so their clothes have a pretty short lifespan. Give those outgrown baby and children’s clothes a second chance at life by shipping them to Terracycle, where they will recycle them. You can recycle baby or children’s clothes from any line through this program, not just Carter’s, but will receive Carter’s reward points for every shipment processed.
Soma Clothing Recycling
How it works: It may seem that when we’re ready to move on from a bra, that’s it for that undergarment. Not so, with Soma’s #BraItForward program. They partnered with The Bra Recyclers to collect new and gently used bras and distribute them to shelters that are affiliated with I Support The Girls and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
Anything that is not in good enough shape to donate will be recycled. As a reward for donating, customers receive Love Soma Rewards points that translate to discounts toward future purchases.
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