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Happy Earth Day! This year we would like to focus on one particular industry that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it deserves when it comes to recycling and sustainability: clothing & textiles. How can you help both the Earth and your wallet? First, consign your clothes! ThredUP is a popular online consignment and one of our favorite kids clothing lines, Polarn O. Pyret, has partnered with thredUP to offer store credits for consigned items. Second, donate all other textiles (not just clothes) to a place that will recycle the textiles rather than send them to a landfill. Read on for more details on both!
Did You Know…?
When most people think of recycling, they think of paper, glass, and plastics. But textiles are certainly recyclable too! While about 95% of textiles are recyclable, only about 15% are being recycled in actuality. More than 21 billion pounds of post-consumer textiles end up in landfills every year. The average American discards about 70 pounds of clothing and textiles annually.
Recycle and Reinvest with PO.P and thredUP
Swedish kid’s clothing line Polarn O. Pyret (PO.P) has launched an initiative with thredUP to raise awareness of this throw-away culture and instead promote responsible consumerism. ThredUP is an on-line consignment shop specializing in name-brand kid’s and women’s clothing. PO.P is now sending out pre-labeled bags that you simply fill with gently used clothing and drop off for mailing into thredUP. You’ll then receive store credit for future purchases from PO.P!
Wanna give it a try? Here are more details on how it works:
- You may have already received a polka dot bag in a recent PO.P purchase. But you don’t have to buy something first, you can simply request some bags be sent to you free-of-charge! E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address (US) and request as many bags as you’d like.
- Activate the bag on-line so you can drop off your clothes for free shipping and receive your store credits to PO.P.
- Fill the bag with up to 10 lbs. of gently-used, name-brand kid’s or women’s clothing. Drop it off at the post office or leave it for the mailman.
- thredUP will notify you of how much credit you will receive. Typically, customers will earn 10-40% of the item’s resale value in customer credit. (Want a better idea of how much you can earn? Check out these examples.)
- The turnaround time is about one month.
- Your clothes are re-sold on thredUP. Anything that does not meet their quality standards will be recycled.
- Use your store credit for some PO.P purchases!
What to do with your credits?
Re-invest your money and customer credits with well-made quality clothing from Polarn O. Pyret! PO.P manufactures clothes that will wear and wash with longevity and be able to be passed down and recycled on the second hand market again. Further, PO.P’s kids clothes are simply adorable and stylish! We love the bold colors, signature stripes, and unique prints. Check out a sampling of their baby boys clothing below:
What about other clothes and textiles?
ThredUP encourages customers only to send quality, name-brand clothing still in excellent condition (no stains, tears, etc.). Anything that doesn’t happen to meet their standards is entered into its 100% Reuse Program that recycles items rather than sending them to a landfill.
For clothing not suitable for consignment, or donating, or for generic brand clothing as well as other textiles (curtains, bedding, etc.) check out The Council for Textile Recycling’s search tool to find your nearest donation/recycling location.
Keep in mind, you can donate any fabric or textile piece for recycling, even if it has stains or rips and tears. This includes linens, shoes, belts, hats, stuffed toys and accessories. The only fabric or textile that should go into the landfill are those that are wet, moldy or exceptionally dirty items.
Of donated clothing, approximately 45% is reused and repurposed; 30% is recycled and converted; and 20% is recycled into fiber. Not only do these textiles get recycled, but the thrift industry employs nearly 100,000 workers with over $1+ billion in wages paid, while private sector recyclers create an additional 20,000 jobs!
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Photo credits: The Whimsical Photographer