Have you ever found it hard to throw away clothes knowing they would never be worn again by you or by anyone else? Popular clothing companies such as Eileen Fisher, Madewell and H&M have been making an effort to collect, recycle and reuse unwanted clothing items. No matter what brand, consumers can bring their used clothes to these stores to help these socially responsible brands make a difference. This is a new and helpful way to eliminate waste and prevent the overuse of expending resources.
Since 2009, Eileen Fisher’s non-profit organization Green Eileen has collected over 203,000 donated items. In exchange for every donated item, customers receive $5 worth in Recycling Rewards that may be used at Eileen Fisher retail stores, Company Stores or at eileenfisher.com. Green Eileen has created a second market that has sold over 69,000 items of gently worn Eileen Fisher clothes offered in their East and West coast store locations. Offered at an affordable price range, Green Eileen items are discounted at 40-70 percent off the original item cost. Green Eileen donates its proceeds to charities that empower women and girls nationally and internationally, and even more extensively involved with programs in New York and Seattle.
In summer 2014, Madewell teamed up with Blue Jeans Go Green in an effort to help turn denim into housing insulation for those in need. Blue Jeans Go Green was ready to commence when they heard the news on Hurricane Katrina and began their project, which Madewell has supported in New Orleans. As a natural fiber, denim keeps homes warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter in a green and ecofriendly way. As a compensation for contributing a pair of denim, Madewell gave donators $20 off on their next purchase on a new pair of jeans.
H&M has made the public aware that 95% of home textiles that end up in landfills can be reused. So it is up to the consumer to prevent that from happening by simply donating their unwanted clothes to H&M. Even if its “worn, torn, or hopelessly out of style,” H&M said that consumers could bring it to any of their stores instead of letting it sit in a closet. In exchange for each bag of clothing given to H&M, a $5 voucher was issued to redeem on the customers next purchase of $30 or more. All collected clothes and textiles were then transported to the nearest processing plant where they are be graded and hand-sorted. H&M even recycled clothes that are too damaged to be reused into raw materials. In 2013, H&M had accumulated 3,047 tons of garments, the equivalent to 15 million t-shirts and used the equivalent to 9.5 million plastic bottles of recycled polyester as well. All of H&M’s regular shopping bags are made from recycled plastic. H&M has plans to close the loop, which means that they will soon begin using unwanted clothes as resources for new products to avoid wasting resources.
Support the efforts of these companies by bringing old clothing to a retail location and help make a difference!