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8 Ethical Companies that Recycle Clothes (+Fashion Waste)

companies that recycle clothes

Conscious companies that recycle clothes are on the frontlines of the battle against fast fashion. Today we explore the clothing recycling programs adopted by these green brands and shed some light on the important work that they’re doing for our world.

Fast fashion is a recent phenomenon. Thanks to massive clothing retailers like H&M, Gap, and Zara between 2000 and 2015 production of clothing items doubled from 50 to 100 billion garments. Collections and trends are being churned out at twice the rate, causing twice the amount of waste.

Clothing has shifted from a consumer good, to a fast-moving consumer good in recent years. This fast-moving consumer fashion (FMCF) as it has been dubbed, describes the cheap, trend-orientated clothing that flies off the shelves – and quickly ends up as textile waste at the local landfill.

Recycling clothing is more important than ever! Here are 8 ethical companies that recycle clothes and other fashion-related items.

#1: Patagonia

  • Committed to the circular economy
  • Clothing made from recycled materials
  • All items bought at Patagonia are accepted at stores for recycling

Patagonia is one of those uncommonly conscious brands that is really trying to build sustainability into their company (even though they don’t like to call it that!)

From allowing customers to return every Patagonia clothing item for recycling, to making new items from polyester, recycled nylon, down and wool – this company advocates for the earth at every turn.

Read about their struggles with clothing recycling here.

#2: Alternative Apparel

  • Committed to sustainable manufacturing
  • Uses eco-friendly materials
  • Advocates for environmental responsibility

Alternative Apparel, a clothing brand under Hanes Brands – has dedicated itself to sustainable clothing production and recycling. The group owns 70% of its production and focuses on global environmental management as a governing force.

They are also active in initiatives like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and manage to divert 92% of facility waste from landfills around the world. That means they’re recycling 100 million pounds of textile waste every year.

#3: Levi Strauss

  • Committed to circular sustainable fashion
  • Care Tag for our Planet Program
  • Blue Jeans Go Green partnership

It’s not surprising that Levi Strauss makes the list of ethical brands that support textile sustainability. Through product design and innovation, they’re creating jeans that are 100% recyclable. At the same time, they’ve launched educational initiatives to help customers extend garment lifespan.

Their ongoing partnership with the Blue Jeans Go Green initiative proves they care. It’s a clothing recycling program that takes jeans and recycles them into new items. To date, they’ve diverted 2100 tons of denim from local landfills.

#4: Vetta

  • Sustainable clothing manufacturing
  • Recycled clothing packaging
  • Recycled clothing programs

Taking ethical business to the next level is Vetta, a clothing company with excellent sustainability practices. This California-based brand encourages customers to buy lean from a timeless collection. Their factories are committed to solar powered operations (70%) and packaging is fully recycable.

All fabrics are sustainable and recyclable, and Vetta actively creates content encouraging customers to sell, donate or recycle their clothing.  

#5: Universal Standard

  • Innovative clothing recycling program

Universal Standard has a rewarding process for customers who want to recycle their clothing. Order a paper bag from their store and fill it with wardrobe items that you want to recycle. Send it in and get $25.00 for every recyclable item, up to $100.00.

The credit can be spent in-store on new items – and items sent in don’t have to be from Universal Standard. The brand rewards the act of recycling clothing, making this a green initiative instead of a loyalty program, while encouraging people to shop in a more sustainable way.

#6: Girlfriend Collective

  • Dedicated to recycling clothing and fashion items

Girlfriend Collective is a popular athleisure brand that makes leggings, bras, and other active wear. They have an amazing clothing recycling program that encourages customers to send in their worn items so that they can be recycled into new ones. For your trouble, you’ll get $15.00 store credit.

#7: Reformation

  • Commitment to recycling old clothing
  • Creation of new clothing out of old clothing
  • Climate neutral certified company
  • Ethical supply chain and materials

At Reformation, clothing sustainability is at the heart of their entire business. Their clothing recycling practice is efficient, and they’ve partnered with SuperCircle to make sure every item sent in becomes something new. Recyclable items do have to be from Ref though.

While some recycling programs involving textile waste end up downcycling materials, Reformation is adamant that the items they accept eventually become clothing of equal or similar value.

#8: Urban Outfitters

  • Ethical business model

With Urban Outfitters, you get a company that has been focused on sustainability since before it was front and center on the internet. From upcycling and remaking clothing, to having a fully recycled line of clothes – these vintage items are reaching to be a part of the circular economy.

The companies that recycle clothes are helping reduce the negative impact of fast fashion on our environment. By being conscious businesses, they are taking a bold step away from the damaging fashion waste that is contributing to so many environmental problems in our world.

Does your clothing company have a recycling program that reduces your environmental impact?

Tell us below.