8 retailers that reward you for recycling clothes
Recycle the old, buy new at a discount.
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With so many options for buying used clothing online, some retailers are hopping on the "reduce, reuse, recycle" bandwagon by offering perks to customers who turn in their gently used apparel. In some cases, the clothing is turned into new pieces and in others, it's donated to those less fortunate. Some brands have also started secondhand stores, repairing returned items and reselling at a discount—a circular economy that gives clothing a second life. If you’re looking to clean out your closet and acquire some new garments, consider recycling with one of these retailers—you can score a discount or even a gift card in the process.
Levi’s has been the world’s leading denim maker for over a century, selling jeans and jackets in a variety of washes. Now it's asking for those items back, if you’re willing to part with them. The company allows trade-ins on all of its denim jackets or jeans, no matter how old, to keep its clothes in circulation. In exchange, you’ll get a coupon between $5 and $35. The value of each garment you recycle varies, but the company has a handy chart on its website for reference.
Levi’s will take your denim, repair any minor damage, sanitize it, and then resell it at Levi’s Secondhand online shop. The retailer also encourages visiting one of its Tailor Shops for redesigns and repairs on its products, stretching the denim’s lifespan even further.
Currently, you can make denim trade-ins by appointment only at Levi’s retail stores.
2. The North Face
Over the last few years, The North Face has focused on more sustainable production, like moving away from single-use plastics in its packaging, using eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, and reusing polyester and nylon. The North Face’s “Clothes the Loop” campaign, which calls for customers to donate old clothes in-store, is yet another example of its commitment to a longer lifecycle for clothing.
The North Face teamed up with nonprofit Soles4Souls to distribute shoes and clothing for disaster or homeless relief, or given to entrepreneurs to start resale shops in areas where job opportunities are scarce. Drop off clothing and shoes from any brand in any condition to a nearby North Face retailer, and you’ll earn $10 off a purchase of $100 or more.
You can find a list of stores that accept recycled goods at The North Face’s website. It’s also worth checking out the brand’s limited lifetime warranty program, which repairs clothing defects, and The North Face’s Renewed Collection, a store of refurbished clothing by the company.
Similar to The North Face, Patagonia owes a lot to the outdoors. Since its founding, the company has rooted its identity in respect for the Earth. Today, the company maintains that position through its use of sustainable materials, corporate activism, and recycling program.
Patagonia’s Worn Wear initiative allows consumers to trade in gently worn Patagonia clothing in-store or via mail in exchange for retail credit up to $100. You can use the trade-in credit online, at a local Patagonia store, or at the Worn Wear store, where you can shop used Patagonia clothing at a fraction of its retail price. This program extends to most clothing available in kids, men’s, and women’s sizes, along with gear like backpacks, totes, and sleeping bags.
You can find a full list of accepted Patagonia goods on the Worn Wear website. And in case you're not yet ready to part with your Patagonia apparel, the company offers DIY repair guides for its products.
Celebrity-favorite clothing brand Reformation aims to be transparent about its sustainability practices and the company’s website is full of information on fashion’s impact on the environment. Reformation’s partnership with thredUP allows customers to sell or recycle their used clothes in exchange for store credit or a donation.
To claim the reward, request a Payout Kit if you’re looking for money to spend at Reformation, or a Donation Kit, in which thredUP will donate $5 toward Circular Fashion Fund (CFF), a nonprofit that aims to promote a circular economy. Both kits send a bag to your home, which you’ll fill up and drop off at a local FedEX or USPS location. If you’re using a Payout Kit, thredUP takes your bag of clothing, picks eligible items to sell at its webstore, and gives you credit to use at Reformation as payment.
5. Universal Standard
Universal Standard built its reputation through inclusive sizing and body-positive models. The brand recently introduced Reset, Recycle, and Refresh, a program that provides more cotton and fabrics for companies that aim to recycle and reuse.
To get started, purchase a recycling bag from Universal Standard for $4.50. When it shows up, fill it with up to four pieces of your old clothing, in any condition, and from any brand. From there, the clothing is donated to Marimole, a company that extracts textile waste for reusable fabrics. In exchange for the goods, Universal Standard will give you a unique $25-off coupon code for every piece you recycle. Just recycling one article of clothing? You’ll get $25 off your next Universal Standard order. If you recycle four pieces of clothing, you can get $25 off your next four orders.
6. Eileen Fisher
Eileen Fisher joined the fight for sustainability back in 2014, when it first announced its switch from conventional to organic cotton. The company has since launched its Eileen Fisher Renew program.
Every Eileen Fisher piece that's returned in store or by mail is eligible for a $5 reward credit, regardless of the condition it’s in. The company then sorts each garment, cleans and resells the clothes that aren’t damaged, and recycles the rest. You can spend your rewards at Eileen Fisher online, or on used clothing at Eileen Fisher Renew.
Madewell says it’s on a mission to become fully sustainable by the year 2025. By then, the company hopes to use sustainably sourced materials in all of its products, relying on resources like wood pulp and recycled cotton. Madewell also joined with Blue Jeans Go Green to repurpose old denim and keep textiles from becoming waste by turning old jeans into housing insulation.
To participate in Madewell’s recycling program, visit a local retail store and drop off a pair of preloved jeans in any cut, style, or color. Madewell will then give you a $20 credit to use toward one new pair of its beloved denim jeans. According to Madewell, consumers have donated 800,000 pairs of jeans so far, which has warmed more than 1,000 houses, and kept “415 tons of denim out of the trash.”
8. Girlfriend Collective
TikTok-famous retailer Girlfriend Collective loves to turn trash into clothes. The company takes plastic bottles and fishing nets out of the ocean, and repurposes them into bras, leggings, dresses, and more. This devotion to sustainability is just one of the many reasons why Gen-Z adores the fashion house.
Girlfriend Collective also has its own recycling program, ReGirlfriend, which calls for consumers to send in their old Girlfriend clothing in exchange for gift cards. Just purchase a shipping label and send in your old Girlfriend clothes, and the company will gift you $15 credit for new clothing. Girlfriend Collective will then take your old garments and recycle them into new ones.
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