7 Fashion brands that will recycle or donate your clothes

Did you know that over 11 million tons of textiles ended up in U.S. landfills in 2018? The vast majority of textiles are sent to landfills rather than a recycling center. You can help reduce the amount of clothes you throw away by utilizing these recycling and donation programs from popular brands. 


Patagonia is known for their high quality outdoor apparel and gear and commitment to the environment. Did you know that you can buy Patagonia second-hand through their Worn Wear website? Patagonia customers can send in their old Patagonia items to receive store credit and the items will be sold for a lower price on Worn Wear to a new owner.

Girlfriend Collective 

Girlfriend Collective is known for their recycled athletic wear and shares some shocking statistics on clothing waste on their website, including the fact that clothes in landfills can take up to 200 years to decompose. Girlfriend Collective encourages customers to send in their old Girlfriend Collective clothes in return for store credit. The collected items get recycled and turned into new gear for a new customer!

Madewell and American Eagle

Madewell and American Eagle have both partnered with the Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program which turns old denim into housing insulation for communities in need. 

Anyone can donate any pair of jeans at a Madewell store (there’s one in Eastview Mall) and you will receive $20 off a new pair. So far, over 1 million pairs of jeans have been recycled through this partnership.

American Eagle offers anyone who donates at least one pair of jeans $10 off a new pair and has locations in the Rochester area at Eastview Mall in Victor and the Greece Ridge Mall.


Reformation is an incredibly popular brand in the sustainable fashion world. They encourage customers to mail in or drop off their old Reformation items, at this time only shoes, activewear, sweaters, and denim, to be recycled into new items. As an extra incentive, Reformation pays you up to $25 to recycle your items with them.

Medved Running & Walking

While you may have heard of the Free the Girls campaign via Aerie’s old bra collection program, the only location in Rochester still accepting small donations  (5 bras or less) is Medved Running & Walking, across from Pittsford Plaza on Monroe Ave. If you have a lot of bras to donate, they ask you to mail them in instead. Free the Girls collects gently used bras for survivors of human trafficking to sell as a way to make a safe and sustainable living. 


Have you heard of the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program? You can turn in old athletic shoes at Nike stores or at our three locations at the University! River Campus donation bins are located in the Alumni Locker Rooms at the Goergen Athletic Center and shoes can be dropped off at G-7528C by the yellow elevators in the Medical Center.

Know of any other recycling or donation programs by fashion brands? Let us know in the comments.

Written by Sarah Woodams ‘24(T5)

Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash


One Reply to “7 Fashion brands that will recycle or donate your clothes”

  1. Thank you for highlighting these seven fashion brands that prioritize sustainability by offering recycling or donation programs for clothes. It’s encouraging to see fashion brands taking responsibility for the environmental impact of their industry and actively working towards more sustainable practices. Recycling and donating clothes can help reduce waste and extend the lifecycle of garments. By promoting these brands and their initiatives, we can encourage consumers to make more conscious choices when it comes to their wardrobe. It’s crucial for the fashion industry as a whole to continue embracing these sustainable practices and finding innovative ways to minimize its ecological footprint.

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