{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!

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.)

Shoes ONLY

DSW – Bring your new or gently-worn shoes to any DSW location and let the associate know you are donating a pair. You’ll get 50 points applied to your DSW VIP account and help the planet.

Fleet Feet – Recycle your gently used sneakers with Fleet Feet to keep them out of landfills and help create opportunities for people in need. Drop your gently used running shoes off at either of the Madison store locations. 

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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