How to Recycle Old Clothes in the Madison Area

{And Keep Them Out of Landfills}

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be finding a whole lot of clothes (specifically my children’s) with holes, paint & marker stains, and just in plain-old-dirty condition lately. I kept tossing the clothes, but one day I wondered, “What can I do with these INSTEAD of throwing them away, where they will land up in a pile of garbage that may never disappear?”

Thus began my search for finding local places in the Madison area that will take clothes that can’t be donated.

With spring right around the corner (at least we hope), now is a good time to start spring cleaning and collecting what can’t be donated and drop them off at one of the local places below to keep unnecessary trash out of the landfill. Some even offer a discount or incentive to drop them at their store!

The North Face – Help to ensure that worn clothes don’t end up in landfills. The North Face’s Clothes the Loop program encourages people to drop off unwanted clothing and footwear at The North Face Retail and Outlet Stores. Recycle your used apparel and footwear (any condition, any brand) at our stores and earn a $10 reward toward your next purchase of $100 or more at The North Face.

The items dropped in their collection bins are sent to their non-profit partner, Soles4Souls. Their mission is to create sustainable jobs and provide relief through the distribution of shoes and clothing. The items put into their bins are repurposed for micro-enterprise programs that aim to provide small entrepreneurs with business opportunities.

H & M – Drop your bag of unwanted clothing in the recycling box at your local store. All textiles are welcome – any brand, any condition – even odd socks, worn-out T-shirts and old sheets. The textiles are then sent to the nearest recycling plant, where they’re sorted by hand. For every bag of textiles you drop off, you’ll receive a discount card for 15% off your next in-store purchase. (See website for more details)

USAgain – You can find these drop boxes at local businesses around Madison (or search for your city by entering your zip code). They accept clothes, shoes and household textiles in reusable condition. Household textiles include tablecloths, towels, bedding, blankets, bedspreads, etc. Clothes, shoes and textiles must be clean and dry and dropped off in tied bags. A sturdy bag protects the clothes from dirt and simplifies handling. Here is a more detailed list of the items they take. Clothes will either be resold or used in other ways if not able to be worn again.

They cannot accept mattresses, furniture, appliances, carpet, household items, toys or trash. Please do not leave these items at a drop-box.

Denim ONLY

American Eagle– American Eagle’s partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program and asks you to set aside your old jeans (any brand, any color, any style) to recycle the next time you come into AE. They’ll still give you $10 off your next pair of new AE jeans!

Madewell – Stop by the stores with your pre-loved pairs (from any brand: the bootcuts from high school, the baggy ones from your skater days, the bright red skinnies from who knows when). They also partner with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program , where they will turn denim into housing insulation for communities in need—and Madewell will give you $20 off new ones.* (See the website for the specific details)

Levi’s – Levi’s® stores (and Outlets) will have a recycling box where you can drop off any denim from any brand and give your jeans a new life. They also partner with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program.

Head to your local Levi’s® store or Outlet to save 20% off a single item when you bring denim in for recycling. (20% off single item when you recycle denim in store.)

Can’t make it to a store? A Mail-in Option:

Zappos for Good – Mail in your Denim if you can’t find a local retailer that is collecting them. Together with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program, recycling denim and reducing textile waste is as easy as 1-2-3 and it’s free! Free shipping, to make it accessible for everyone.

Even the tiniest steps make a difference! Together we can help preserve our planet.

Regina lived most of her adult life in California while pursuing her dream of being a working actress. When life blessed her with being a mother, her and her husband, Will, decided it was time to return to the Midwest, where both of them grew up. Regina returned to her home state of Wisconsin and has since added a second daughter, and a son, to her family. She is extremely passionate about living a balanced lifestyle, which includes nutritious eating, meditation, fitness, and wine. A recovering perfectionist, Regina now focuses on progress over perfection and is working on being more compassionate to herself, and vows to have self-care be a part of her daily life. She also loves to read, listen to music & podcasts, and experiment with baking. Regina lives in Verona with her husband and three children. You can follow her further on her journey at (@moveyourroots on Instagram).


  1. Thank you for this post. Covid life has me purging lots of excess from our house. I knew about textile recycling, but wasn’t having any luck finding a place that did it. We contacted charity/thrift stores and they told us they just toss the stuff they don’t want. What a waste!! Your links helped me find several places.


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