Posted on: February 22, 2024 Posted by: Comments: 0

For today’s topic in our continuing series on eco-friendly shopping, let’s discuss how to give your unwanted clothes a second life! We got into this a bit with our post on where to recycle, donate, and resell your old work clothes, but it’s been a while…

As a reminder, some of our other recent posts include how to avoid fast fashion for work clothes, as well as how to make your workwear more eco-friendly. We’ve also rounded up clothing brands with resale programs, and (on the financial side) discussed socially responsible investing.

How to Give Your Unwanted Clothes a Second Life

1. Gift clothing locally through Buy Nothing, other community gifting groups on Facebook (or other sites), and mutual aid networks. (To find mutual aid groups in your area, use this search tool from Mutual Aid Hub or google “[Your City] Mutual Aid Network.”) Some Buy Nothing Facebook groups have distanced themselves from the official Buy Nothing organization (WIRED did a deep dive on this last year) and now have names like “Community Gifting [City Name],” so you may have to do some searching.

2. Give your unwanted clothing to friends and family. Ideally (if you have similar taste!), they will reciprocate!

3. Organize a clothing swap with friends (readers, have you done this? I totally want to), or find one run by a local community group. Just google “clothing swap [City Name].”

4. Donate clothes to charities that distribute directly to people in need, like Dress for Success, refugee aid groups, clothing closet programs run by places of worship, and college career centers that provide interview outfits to students from lower-income families.

5. Recycle your clothes. As of February 2024, stores that accept denim for recycling include Rag & Bone, Muji, and Madewell (through the Blue Jeans Go Green program). Unfortunately, most clothing can’t be composted, as Fast Company has pointed out.

Attention, parents: Terracycle, which we featured in this Tool of the Trade post, accepts all brands of baby and kids’ clothes for recycling (they give you a label for free shipping) — you can sign up at If you ship a box of more than 15 lbs., you’ll earn My Rewarding Moments points to use at Carter’s.

6. Donate your eyeglasses. To use the Lions Clubs recycling program for glasses, drop your glasses off at a participating Walmart Vision Center, participating local club (search this directory), or Lions Eyeglasses Recycling Centers (search this directory).

Stock photo via Pexels / cottonbro studios.

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