Earth day and Fashion Revolution Week are (almost) upon us! We often get questions from friends and customers about how to recycle and donate their clothes in addition to buying better. Here is our list of ways to refresh your closet in more sustainable ways.
The Blue Jeans Go GreenTM, program has partnered with a few retailers to help you recycle your blue jeans. Bring your old jeans to retailers like Madewell and Bloomingdales and get $20 or 30% off a pair of new ones. Head to the website to see all the locations involved
Bras and Underwear
There are lots of options for donating or recycling bras. Third Love, our favorite online lingerie store, does a great roundup of where to bring or send your bras. Check out their list for organizations like Free the Girls or Bra Recyclers, as well as local organizations.
While old underwear may not be easy to donate, their are a few ways to keep some of them out of landfills. For 100% cotton undies (minus elastic waistbands) try popping them in your compost bin. Check out this Bustle article for other creative ways to repurpose your used undies.
Instead of throwing out those old sneakers consider giving them to Nike instead. They’ll take all used sneakers regardless of brand and, as part of their Nike Grind program, turn them in parts for future shoes and apparel, as well as surfaces for things like running tracks. Find a location where you can participate in the reuse-a-show campaign here.
The king of environmental stewardship is Patagonia. Mail or bring back any Patagonia items and they’ll recycled or repurposed, keeping them out of landfills or incinerators. Some items even get to go to a new home after being sold in their innovative trade-in program out of their store Portland, Oregon.
The North Face has an awesome program to keep clothes and shoes out of the landfill: bring any clothes and shoes (any brand, any condition) to one of their stores and they’ll give you $10 off a purchase of $100+.
All Clothes, including ripped and stained ones
If you're looking to transition your wardrobe to include more ethically produced garments, try out Cuyana's Lean Closet program. Add the lean closet card to your shopping cart on the site and they'll send you a bag and shipping label to send back lightly used clothes for their partner, H.E.A.R.T. For every batch you donate, Cuyana will give you $10 in credit to shop the store.
H&M and has been accepting clothes for 4+ years now. Bring your old clothes – doesn’t matter what brand or condition – and they’ll sort them into piles for rewearing, reusing, and recycling. Some of the recycled clothes get repurposed into new clothes for their line, but most become any number of items, including insulation in construction materials, stuffing for stuffed toys, shoe insoles, or even back-window car shelves. & Other Stories, also owned by H&M, has a similar program (they’ll even take socks and towels), but gives you a 10% coupon towards your next purchase.
Many local charities and organizations welcome lightly used clothing. Do a quick google search to see what is available in your town. Our home is Washington, DC, so we love to send general clothes to Martha’s Outfitters and more business suitable attire to Suited for Change.
Wondering what to do with those cosmetics empties? Origins USA will accept any containers from any company and recycle them for you. If you have M.A.C empties, bring them to a store and they’ll take them back; bring back 6 containers and they’ll give you a free lipstick. Aveda also takes back any of their own non recyclable containers.