How to Sell, Donate or Recycle Your Old Clothes, and Keep Them Out of Landfills

If everyone in the U.S. recycled their clothing and textiles for one year instead of throwing them away, it would save 30.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions. That’s the same as taking all the cars in Los Angeles off the road for one year. So how can you keep clothes out of the landfill? Here are your best options:

 

Sell

Are your unwanted clothes still valuable? For-profit secondhand stores are a quick and easy way to cash in. In addition to selling locally, there are also national chains, including Buffalo ExchangeClothes MentorCrossroads TradingOnce Upon a Child and Plato’s Closet . There are also a host of websites and applications that will help you sell or swap your old threads with just a few clicks on your smartphone, including eBayMercariPoshmarkswap.comthredUP, and Tradesy.

Here is a local consignment store in the RecycleMore jurisdiction that may be of consideration:

Joceannes Consignment

Address: 448 Valley View Rd Suite C, El Sobrante, CA 94803

Phone(510) 758-1200

Website: www.joyceannes.com

 

Donate for Reuse

If you think your clothes may not be new enough to sell, donating locally is an easy way to give your wardrobe future use. Check whether an organization takes only gently used items or items in any condition—they can easily be a one stop shop for all your old clothes. Many organizations that accept donated clothing for resale will also recycle clothes that are torn, stained, or worn, and will help keep them out of the landfill.

You have two choices when it comes to donating garments:

Non-profit organizations raise money for charitable causes. Goodwill, for example, uses the revenue from sales of donated clothing to fund job training programs for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. Another benefit of this option is that your donation may be tax deductible. Goodwill has a PDF guide to help you estimate the value of your donation. Other national charities that accept clothing donations include The Salvation ArmySociety of St. Vincent de PaulVietnam Veterans of America and PlanetAid. If you want to know more about an organization before you donate, look it up on CharityWatch or Charity Navigator.

For-profit companies may donate a portion of their profits. Some major clothing retailers such as H&MLevi Strauss & Co. and The North Face encourage customers to bring back old clothes from any brand to their retail locations, so they can be reused or recycled.. Other for-profit clothing collectors include SaversCommunity Recycling and American Textile Recycling Service.

Here are some local thrift stores in the RecycleMore jurisdiction that may be of consideration:

Goodwill Stores & Donation Centers of the Eastbay

Goodwill – Richmond

Address: 12341 San Pablo Ave, Richmond, CA 94805

Phone(510) 965-1833

 

Goodwill – San Pablo Town Center

Address: 100A San Pablo Towne Center, San Pablo, CA 94806

Phone(510) 307-9886

 

Good Stuff Thrift Shop

Address: 10313 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone(510) 528-9455

 

Turnabout Thrift Shop

Address: 10052 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito, CA 94530

Phone(510) 525-7844

 

Treasure Hunt

Address: 1189 San Pablo Ave, Pinole, CA 94564

Phone(510) 506-1680

 

ReUse Station – El Cerrito

Drop off clothing at the El Cerrito Recycling Center ReUse Station trailers for reuse that is sold at local thrift stores. Proceeds support the El Cerrito Recycling Center programs. Acceptable items include clothing, small pieces of furniture, children’s toys, small countertop appliances, etc. Click here to find a detailed list of acceptable textile and clothing items for drop off. 

 

Use it Again – El Cerrito

The El Cerrito Recycling Center has USAagain bins available for drop off for textiles and clothing as well. Donated items are sent abroad. Acceptable items include clothes, shoes, tablecloths, towels, bedding, blankets, bedspreads, comforters, etc., in reusable condition. Click here to find out more information.

 

Recycle

If your unwanted garments aren’t in good enough condition to be worn again, you can still keep them out of the landfill by recycling them. Many organizations that accept clothing for resale will also recycle clothes that are torn, stained or worn. Some major clothing recyclers include GoodwillThe Salvation ArmySociety of St. Vincent de PaulSaversBlue Jeans Go GreenAmerican Textile Recycling Service and USAgain.

 

Remember to Reduce

Another way you can help keep clothes out of the landfill is to consider buying secondhand and buying clothing that is ethically and sustainably made. The more we reduce our consumption in the first place, the less material we’re responsible for recycling, and helps the environment. And, buying secondhand helps makes us feel good about our actions,  helps the money stay in the economy, and supports the green living movement.

Here are some interesting facts around the Thrift Store Industry Statistics and Trends:

  • “The purchase of one used item instead of a new one can reduce its carbon footprint by up to 82%. If everyone would purchase just one used item in the next 12 months, it would save 11 billion kilowatts of energy, 25 billion gallons of water, and 449 million pounds of waste”. (Green Story)
  • The equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is either incinerated or landfilled every second of each day. That means there are 108 million tons of non-renewable resources used to produce clothing each year that will never see wear, accounting for up to 25% of the global carbon budget. (The Shelf)
  • “60% of consumers say that they would be more loyal to a specific brand if there was a recycling program offered as part of the experience.” (GlobalData)

 

Ripped, Stained, or Torn Clothing?

After repurposing your old clothing and they have reached their life expectancy, the best option is to throw the items in the trash. According to the Council for Textile Recycling, only about 10-20% of clothing that gets donated is sold by the donation organization because it is no longer in sellable condition. So, before you donate all your unwanted clothes at the nearest thrift shop, take the time to go through them to determine which will have the best chance of being resold.