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The fast fashion industry has accelerated the production of cheap and hastily made clothing.

The overproduction of clothing and fabric highlights the need for textile recycling to extend the lifespan of fabrics and reduce the demand for new production.

As we strive towards a more sustainable lifestyle, the rise of textile recycling companies has become increasingly important and more readily available.

Textile recycling helps keep garments out of landfills and reduces energy consumption and water and air pollution. Overall, it reuses textiles differently, making new products from waste materials. 

This article will explore the need to recycle old clothes and textiles, highlighting 16 of the top textile recycling companies to follow.

clothes hanging worn

What is Textile Recycling?

Recover Fiber describes textile recycling as “the process of creating new products from salvaged and reclaimed textile waste (which could include, among others, pre- and post-industrial textile waste and post-consumer waste). There are various recycling processes: mechanical textile, chemical textile, and others.”

Textile recycling involves taking old textiles or clothing and repurposing, reusing, and making entirely new items with recycled textiles.

In essence, recycling textiles is more than just donating your clothes. Instead, it applies to clothes that don’t fit the profile to be resold in stores like Goodwill and other well-known thrift stores.

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Why not donate?

Donating old clothes is certainly a good step in the right direction when recycling clothes. And I am a huge proponent of this. However, not all donated clothing is suitable for resale or salvageability.

Charities that receive clothing donations frequently send a significant portion of the items overseas. Stores like Goodwill are only able to sell a percentage of clothing donated to their thrift stores. Clothing that is neither suitable for wearing nor sellable becomes an ideal candidate for textile recycling programs.

Textile Recycling Brands

TerraCycle 

TerraCycle offers a recycling program where you can recycle almost anything, including clothes. Buying a Zero-Waste box is the easiest way to recycle clothes with TerraCycle.

But, they also have free partnership programs, like recycling underwear with Parade or kids’ clothing with Carter’s, which provide simple ways to recycle specific items. These programs help reduce waste and support TerraCycle’s mission.

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Wearable Collections

Headquartered in NYC, Wearable Collections is a textile recycling company that takes pride in being your go-to destination for unwanted clothing, shoes, and textiles. Wearable Collections is committed to reducing textile waste nationwide and collaborates with businesses and municipal organizations to rescue discarded clothing.

The company has achieved an impressive result, keeping over 95% of collected items out of landfills and providing millions of clothing items with a second chance at life.

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American Recyclers

American Recyclers has thousands of recycling bins all over the country. And they don’t just take clothing: You can also donate belts, shoes, undergarments, towels, rags, stuffed toys, curtains, and more. Plus, all donations are tax-deductible. Find a bin near you here.

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Green Tree

Located in the Bronx, New York, Green Tree specializes in recycling unwanted textile materials, including clothing, shoes, accessories, and household linens that might otherwise contribute to our already overloaded landfills. Their recycling services not only divert textiles from waste but also support disadvantaged individuals and those in transitional phases.

Green Tree is dedicated to environmental preservation by repurposing clothing and textiles for reuse by environmentally conscious manufacturers and designers. They guarantee that no textile material they handle enters the waste stream.

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Knickey

Knickey makes it easy to recycle hard-to-repurpose clothing like underwear. They accept underwear, bras, socks, and tights and transform them into valuable materials such as insulation, carpet paddings, and furniture batting.

Send in your old underwear, and as a thank you, you’ll receive a discount on a sustainable pair from Knickey. It’s a convenient way to recycle and upgrade your underwear drawer with eco-friendly options.

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Related post: 8 Sustainable Ways to Get Rid of Old Bras

Retold Recycling

Retold offers a convenient recycling program where you can purchase a bag to fill your unwanted fabrics and clothing. Once filled, you simply drop it off at the post office to be sent back to Retold.

Whether you order one bag, multiple bags, or subscribe to receive bags throughout the year, Retold handles the sorting process. They distribute the clothing to thrift stores, donation centers, recyclers, resellers, and upcycles.

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For Days 

For Days offers a clothing recycling program called the “Take Back Bag” program. They accept all textiles, including towels, fabric scraps, or sheets, regardless of their condition.

To participate, order a bag from them, fill it with your unwanted textiles, and send it back. Although there is a cost for the bag, you’ll receive equal credit to shop from For Days’ sustainable clothing line. 

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Fair Harbor 

Fair Harbor addresses the challenge of recycling swimsuits through its Roundtrip Initiative. They partner with 2ReWear’s program to recycle old swimsuits. This initiative provides a sustainable solution for giving swimsuits a second life, reducing waste. You can contact Fair Harbor for more information on pickup and the program.

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Madewell

Madewell is another brand that offers recycling services through its partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green initiative. By bringing any brand of jeans to a Madewell store, you can contribute to the recycling efforts and help transform them into housing insulation for communities in need. It’s a convenient and impactful way to recycle your jeans while making a positive difference in the lives of others.

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Scrap 

Scrap is a textile collection and recycling company based in New York. They accept clothing in both good and heavily worn condition, ensuring that none of the clothes they collect end up in landfills.

To participate, pack your clothing, separate mildly used from deeply worn items, and choose your preferred collection option. You can schedule a pickup or drop-off at a nearby partner location.

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Marine Layer

Marine Layer’s Re-Spun recycling program offers a solution for giving new life to old t-shirts. Recognizing the challenge of rehoming tees due to their abundance and specific designs, Re-Spun provides options for recycling.

You can drop off your t-shirts in-store or request a prepaid label for shipping. Marine Layer recycles the cotton to create new tees or finds alternative outlets for recycling materials that cannot be reused.

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2ReWear

2ReWear is a recycling company that specializes in clothing, shoes, and home textile recycling. They collaborate with retail partners to collect, recycle, and trade these items. With one of the largest networks of partners, they effectively divert over 100 million pounds of textile waste annually. You can engage with their partners, such as Nice Laundry, or locate a drop-off location near you to participate. 

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H&M 

H&M, a fast-fashion retailer, has established one of the most well-known recycling programs in the industry. H&M’s recycling program accepts all clothing items, regardless of brand or condition.

To participate, simply gather your used textiles, bag them, and drop them off at your nearest H&M store. As a token of appreciation, you will receive a discount card offering 15% off your next purchase for each bag of used items you bring in.

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Levi

To help keep denim a part of the circular economy, Levi’s partnered with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program to recycle any brand of jeans or denim jackets in any condition.

To participate, visit a local Levi’s store or outlet to drop your old jeans in one of the recycling bins. Your used clothing will be remade into materials for building insulation. You’ll also receive a voucher for 20% off a single product in exchange for your donation.

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Goodwill

Goodwill is one of America’s largest recyclers. Not only can you donate to the thrift store for reselling, but you can also drop off your worn-out fabrics for recycling. According to Goodwill’s sustainability agreement, the company works with local agencies to repurpose and recycle all materials.

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Patagonia

Patagonia runs a take-back program known as Worn Wear, focusing exclusively on collecting the clothing and gear they produce. If a product cannot be repaired or reused, Patagonia ensures it undergoes recycling or upcycling, transforming Patagonia clothing into new items.

The process involves utilizing recycling bins in their stores to gather Patagonia clothing from customers for recycling. Additionally, they occasionally collaborate with other organizations such as Infinited Fiber, a Finland-based supply-chain company. In partnership, they recycle material from used tees into Infinna™ Fiber, which, with its soft and durable qualities, is combined with factory cotton scraps to craft the Tee-Cycle collection.

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How to Find Textile Recycling Companies Near You

One way to find textile recycling companies near you is to do a quick Google search. You can search “textile companies near me” and see what comes up.

Another way is to find drop-off bins that are specific to recycling. Locate those bins through Earth911’s free recycling finder tool.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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