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How to Keep Old Clothes Out of Landfills

H&M Urges You: Don't Let Fashion Go to Waste

I like to think of myself as eco-friendly. Our family carried re-usable bags in the 1980s, we gathered newspapers for recycling before any programs were in place, we always had a compost in our backyard and I think about what I buy for its packaging content. But, sometimes I mess up. Sometimes I am not sure what to do with a product and maybe it ends up in a landfill when it could be recycled. I am always open to new eco info that makes it easier for me to do my part.

What to do with that much loved, cozy shirt that you would never be caught wearing outside your home, with the big stain on the front, with the holes in the side, that you realize should go on to shirt heaven? That you can't donate, well, because nobody should really wear it? Or how about those socks that you would be mortified if anyone saw on the bottom? Or that Christmas cardigan from Aunt Edna that wouldn't even make a great Halloween costume? Or the much loved clothing remains of the last in line in the kiddie hand-me-down pile?  If you've got something worn, torn or really out of style, H&M wants it and has launched H&M Conscious, a program to recycle or repurpose textiles.

Every year, tons of textiles end up in landfills but as much as 95% could be used again. H&M wants to help decrease the amount of fashion being wasted and will reward you for helping out! For now, stores are only accepting clothing — any piece, of any brand, in any condition — and will give you a voucher for $5 off your purchase of $30 or more for each bag of clothing you donate with a limit of 2 shopping bags per day. H&M will not profit from any of the returned items. Revenue generated will be used to reward customers, make donations to charitable organizations and for further investements into its recycling program.

So where will your donations go?

  • Re-wear - Clothes that can be worn again will be marketed worldwide as second-hand goods
  • Reuse - Clothes that can't be worn again will be converted into other products like cleaning cloths
  • Recycle - Clothes that cannot be used again are repurposed as textile fibers or are used as products for the auto industry
  • Energy - When all of the above are not options, textiles are used to produce energy

You can hand in your donations to any store. Now, it's time to purge that sock drawer!

Photo: H&M