Sustainable Summer Cleaning

The first day of summer is right around the corner, meaning that you can shove your coats and jackets into the back of your closets in favor of warm weather wear. While many of your items sit on shelves and dangle on hangers until the cold returns again, you may be considering how to get rid some pieces of clothing that you cannot see yourself donning again. Donating or re-selling used clothing and accessories remain solid options as you can give lightly used items to people that will give them new life. However, for pieces on their last legs, like worn out shoes, old gym shirts or deteriorated denim, there are other sustainable options for unwearable clothing.



Bringing old clothes to H&M is an excellent way to clear out your closet while helping the environment. This worldwide chain of stores joined with The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel to look into how recycling technologies can turn old textiles into new clothing.


Zara also collects old clothing in-store as part of their Join Life sustainability campaign. The Spanish retailer prides itself on being green as, according to their website, 85 percent of their stores are eco-friendly. By the end of this year, Zara hopes that its online website will only use renewable energy, and, in the next two years, they want to cut down this energy usage by 20 percent.


Old jeans can find a new purpose with Madewell’s Blue Jeans Go Green recycling program as part of their How We Do Well campaign. The denim mailed to Madewell or turned into a store will be recycled into housing insulation. The best part? Every pair of jeans recycled will earn you $20 towards a new Madewell pair!


Reformation makes it super simple to get rid of your old clothing and see how recycling affects the environment. Log onto the brand’s website and they’ll give you a free shipping label, so all you need to do is box everything up and mail it! After the package is delivered to the recycling center, check back online and you can see the pounds of water, carbon dioxide, and waste you saved with your donation.