If your closets and dresser drawers are bulging from recent holiday purchases and gifts, you should know about how to get paid for recycling things you no longer want or use.
It’s a win-win, because is reduces waste and compensates you for your good deed helping the planet.
Here is where to get cash rewards and shopping credits for keeping your discards out of the landfill by recycling unwanted clothing, sheets and towels, empty cosmetic containers, office supplies, auto batteries and more.
Where to Recycle Clothing
for Cash & Shopping Rewards
Patagonia’s billionaire founder is giving away company profits to fight climate change and protect undeveloped land around the glove. Recycling clothing and outdoor gear is another of its earth-oriented programs.
The outdoor clothing and gear company accepts its own Patagonia brand clothing in good condition.
When you trade-in your quality, well-loved gear, you get a credit toward purchases in Patagonia retail stores, on WornWear and on Patagonia.com
Each item you trade-in has a price value set by Patagonia – from $10 to kids’ clothing to $100 for high-tech clothing including Gore-Tex.
This retailer accepts bagged clothing – including clothing of any brand in any condition, including clothing not purchased at H&M – in exchange for a digital discount card for 15% off your next in-store purchase.
Just fill a bag with clothes to donate and drop it off at the check-out counter of your preferred location.
They’ll even accept non-clothing textiles such as sheets and towels, tablecloths and cloth napkins.
According to H&M’s website, all H&M stores around the globe participate in this textile recycling program. That includes locations in Europe, which means you can even get rewarded on your vacation overseas.
Through Eileen Fisher Renew, you can drop off your old Eileen Fisher branded clothes at a retail location near you.
In return for your donation, you’ll get a $5 Eileen Fisher Rewards Card per item. The company will either resell the items if they’re in good condition or recycle them into brand-new designs.
You could hold onto jeans that haven’t fit for years, hoping you’ll lose weight and they’ll fit once again, or you could leverage your closet space into a new pair.
Levi’s stores and outlets let you donate any brand of old denim in exchange for 20% off a single item.
The donated denim goes to Blue Jeans Go Green, a program that recycles jeans into housing insulation. You get new clothes at a discount, and someone in need gets an upgraded home.
Like Levi’s, Madewell has a recycling program in partnership with Blue Jeans Go Green.
Bring in any brand of denim, and receive $20 off full-priced Madewell branded jeans.
The North Face
The Clothes the Loop program from The North Face helps ensure clothes and footwear don’t end up in landfills.
Donations are accepted from any brand and in any condition, including competitors of The North Face
When you drop off your used clothes or footwear at a store, you’ll receive $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more at any company-owned retail stores.
This is a national not-for-profit organization whose goal is “fix fashion’s waste problem” and keep fabric out of landfills.
Get a recycling bag from them, fill it, and send it to them. Each bag you send saves 25 gallons of water and nearly 200 pounds of CO2 emissions required to recycle your clothing dumped in the garbage or taken to your local landfill.
Even the Take Back Bags for recycling are made from recycled material
Any clothing is accepted except undergarments – no bras or panties, although socks are okay.
Only members of the REI Co-Op program get shopping credits for recycling clothing or gear, which vary by item.
Membership in the REI Co-Op costs $30, and includes discounts on new items, not just recycling benefits.
This resale company will pay you for discards. Just fill a bag, send it to them, and get rewarded, either wish old-fashioned cash or credits for new purchases of somebody else’s reccled stuff.
Payouts are highest for what TredUp considers premium brands, including J. Crew and Gucci, and lowest for so-called value brands such as Uniqlo, Forever 21 and Old Navy
Send your unwanted or “pre-loved” Timex watch – or a watch from any other brand – to ensure no watch ends up in a landfill.
Depending on its condition. Timex ReWound will either upcycle into new products or made available for purchase on the Timex ReWound site.
Those who wish to upcycle their pre-loved watches will receive a pre-paid shipping label. Each watch received will be inspected, cleaned, and refurbished with a working battery before it is available for resale and ready for a new life with a new generation. Watches that have already lived their best life and do not qualify for resale will be broken down and their parts will be upcycled into new products.
Currently, Timex ReWound is exclusive to customers in the United States with possible plans for further expansion in the near future.
Learn more on the Timex ReWound Site.
Recycle Cosmetics & Personal Hygiene Items
for Cash & Rewards
Through the Back 2 MAC program, you will get a free standard lipstick of your choice for every six empty MAC makeup containers you turn in.
You can drop them off at a participating MAC location or mail them in.
Members of the MAC Lover loyalty program get more choices for freebies: a standard lipstick, lip gloss or small eyeshadow per six empty MAC containers.
Bring your empty bottles from this skin care brand to a Kiehl’s store, and you will receive one point per bottle.
Once you have accumulated 10 points, you can redeem them for a free travel-size product worth $11.
Kiehl’s also accepts empty containers from deluxe samples and complimentary products for recycling, but you won’t receive points for them.
Recycle Auto Parts & Office Equipment
for Cash & Shopping Rewards
Advance Auto Parts
Even if you didn’t buy your car battery from Advance Auto Parts, the retailer will take it off your hands.
Drop off your car or truck battery at a participating Advance Auto Parts location, to get a $10 gift card.
Don’t throw out those ink cartridges! Take your empty ink and toner cartridges to the nearest Office Depot, and they’ll give you $2 back in rewards per cartridge.
The Office Depot Recycling Program does come with a couple of caveats, though.
You have to make a $10 qualifying purchase during that same month to receive the rewards, and the retailer does not accept damaged cartridges.
Get $5 in shopping rewards for your old technology – the list includes everything from old camcorders to old cellphones.
Get $2 in shopping rewards for recycling your used ink toner cartridges.
See the full list of what you can bring to a Staples store to be recycled properly for shopping rewards.
This list has been assembled by ecoXplorer with help from Money Talks News specific research on the websites of the brands included.
It is updated and re-published several times a year, including National Recycling Week in September.
If we missed a brand or location where you can recycle your unwanted items for cash or shopping rewards, please let us know and we will check it out and update this listing.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and guidebook and smartphone app author – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is President of the International Motor Press Assn. (www.impa.org), the most prestigious professional organization of automotive journalists in the USA.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.