What do you do with an article of clothing you no longer wear? If it's in good condition, you can donate it to a charitable organization such as The Salvation Army or Goodwill, and that's tax deductible. If you're hoping to get something more tangible in return for your clothes, you can sell or trade it at a used clothing shop like Buffalo Exchange or Plato's Closet. But even if your old clothes are unwearable, don't toss them in the trash. You can still reap rewards by recycling them.
Did you know that the average American throws away 70 to 80 pounds of clothes a year? Textile waste is a big problem for the planet with about 85% of it ending up in landfills. But just like plastics and aluminum, clothing can be recycled. Some stores offer rewards for being good to the environment:
- For Days - This online subscription service lets members “buy” basics and then exchange them for new ones indefinitely. Members pay a one-time joining fee and then $8 for each swap. To join, sign up for a free For Days trial kit and get a Recycle Bag with your first order. Then you’ll get a $4 credit when you return the bag.
- H&M Group - Their nine brands have collected 78,000 tons of clothing through customer donations since starting a recycling program in 2013. H&M donates about one cent per pound to charities from that and has a goal of using 100% sustainably sourced materials by 2030. To donate your unwanted clothing, bring it to any H&M or & Other Stories location and get 15% off per donation.
- Levi's - The denim makers offer recycling services in their stores, so bring in any unwanted denim (not just jeans) and save 20% on a single item.
- Madewell - This retailer takes any and all jeans - new, used, from any brand - and they go to Blue Jeans Go Green, a company that re-purposes denim into housing insulation, which is then used in homes built by Habitat for Humanity. Bring in your unwanted jeans to any Madewell location and get $20 per donated pair.
- The North Face - They accept clothing donations from any brand, in any condition at all of their retail locations and donate them to Soles4Souls, a non-profit that creates sustainable jobs and provides disaster relief through clothing and footwear donations. Bring your unwanted clothes to any North Face store and get $10 off your next North Face purchase over $100.
- Patagonia - Bring used Patagonia gear to any Patagonia store to get store credit on your next Patagonia purchase. Credits range from $10 to $100, depending on the item.