Large pile of clothes layed out on a table

Large pile of clothes (arousa (123RF))

They are sitting in your closet, or maybe your dresser: clothes that are worn, stained, ripped and full of holes. You cannot donate them because of the wear-and-tear and trashing them would just put them in the already over-full landfills. So, they just sit there, collecting dust, judging you. Okay, maybe I am projecting slightly here. However, there are plenty of ways to rid yourself of clothes (both un-donatable or simply unwanted) that are environmentally friendly.

Take them to H&M

Normally we all go to H&M to get more clothing. Yet not only can you bring your unwanted clothing there, but you can also get a discount on top of it. Since 2013, H&M’s Garment Collecting program has been finding homes for unwanted clothing and placing it into one of three categories: re-wear, reuse or recycle.  Simply bring your clothes to a cashout desk and receive a 10 percent off thank you coupon for future purchases.

Check with your local animal shelter

Animal shelters go through blankets, towels and rags at a high rate. Your old clothing might make for good kennel bedding for a loving animal waiting to find their forever home. Not all animal shelters can use your clothing, so always check with them first before showing up with the donation.

Turn the clothes into TrashieCash™

For those with a USPS mailing address, Trashie takes your unwanted clothing, shoes, accessories, bed linen and towels and turns them into gift cards and discounts of your favorite brands. How does this work? Trashie sends you a “Take Back Bag” that you purchase for 20 USD, and you fill it up with up to 15 lbs. of textiles. Each Take Back Bag you send in earns you 30 dollars in TrashieCash™. You can use your TrashieCash™ for gift cards and discounts from over 15,000 brands including Sephora, L.L. Bean, Walmart, Bath and Body Works and Trashie is proud to boast that by sending your items into them, 90 percent is kept out of landfills and is recycled or “down-cycled” to be made into items such as punching bags and dog beds.

Give them to the German Red Cross

Donate your unwanted items to the German Red Cross and Deutsch Kleider-stiftung where they can either be reused or recycled into items such as car seat covers or cleaning rags. Find your nearest Deutsch Kleider-stiftung bin and learn more about the organization here.

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

The best stories from EUROPE, in your inbox

Sign up to receive travel tips, local event details, restaurant reviews, recipes, community news, and more every week from Stripes Europe.

Sign Up Now