Clothes, Shoes, Textile Recycling
According to the U.S. EPA, a whopping 85% of all discarded textiles – 11 million tons – are sent to U.S.
landfills every year. But that is such a waste because clothes, linens, blankets, and other textiles are highly reusable, and if worn or torn they are still definitely recyclable! Please donate them!
Also buying used clothes at thrift stores is more sustainable than buying new. See a great guide on Thrifting here. Also check out our brochure on Sustainable Fashion Tips.
What happens to your textiles after you donate them at a drop-off? Wearable clothes and shoes are sorted for reuse; damaged or worn textiles are turned into wiping rags or insulation blankets; beyond that the remains are sorted for use in fiber products, like insulation, packing material or carpeting.
Accepts: clean clothing; paired shoes; bedding, towels, and other household textiles,
in any condition; as well as accessories (belts, hats, scarves); stuffed toys, and purses. See full list and criteria here.
Partners: Kane County's electronics recycler, eWorks has partnered with RewearAble to collect clothing and textiles for reuse and recycling. Both organizations are non-profits that provide sustainable employment for people with special needs.
Following drop-off, clothes and other items are cleaned and sorted before following one of four paths to reuse or recycling:
- Top picks are designer clothes, which are laundered and sold within the US, and earnings support the business model of employment for people with special needs (www.dealsondesigners.com)
- The bulk received are non-designer clothes in good repair, which are sold in bulk to wholesalers who distribute them to non-profit groups (homeless, etc) or sell them to brokers who ship to areas of need in developing countries for use
- A smaller percentage are textiles in bad repair, which are processed for cleaning/painting rags
- Less than 5% is classified as "fall-out" and is bailed and sent for reuse as fiber for home and car insulation
Good Will Industries
The sales of your donations help fund job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges. They accept new or gently used items to sell in the Goodwill retail stores.
They accept: Clothing, Appliances, Electronics and Furniture
H&M group receives textiles for recycling as one of many ways they are striving to fulfill their goals towards a sustainable future. H&M has garment-collection boxes in all stores around the world, making it easier for customers to give their garments a new life. When you drop off clothes you get a voucher.
They accept: unwanted garments and home textiles "from ANY brand, in ANY condition" like old tees or dresses, underwear, socks, stockings, ripped tights, and even old towels and sheets.
USAgain (pronounced "use-again") collects unwanted textiles and resells them in the U.S.
and abroad, effectively diverting millions of pounds of clothing from landfills, generating new revenue streams for U.S. businesses and non-profits, and fueling
local economies in emerging countries.
They accept: Clothes (including Children’s Clothing), Footwear (Shoes, Socks), Accessories (Hats, Belts, Purses, Scarves),
and Linens (Bedding, Blankets, Towels, Curtains).
Locations near you can be found using the drop-box locator on the USAgain homepage linked above.
Recycling Drives (no drop boxes)
Chicago Textile Recyclers
Where: 540 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, IL 60174
When: See Events Page for dates.
Accepts: clean clothing; paired shoes; bedding, towels, and other household textiles, in any condition; as well as accessories (belts, hats, scarves); stuffed toys, and purses. See full list and criteria here.
Kane County's electronics recycler, eWorks
has partnered with RewearAble
to collect clothing and textiles for reuse and recycling. Both organizations are non-profits that provide sustainable employment for people with special needs. See above, under "Process" for what happens to the clothes after you drop them off.
Hosting a clothing drive is a great way to recycle used clothing, keeping it out
of the landfill while easily raising money for your organization. We provide
easy fundraising opportunities for churches, charities, synagogues, schools, boy
scout troops, girl scout troops, athletic clubs or community organizations. We
will help you to create this easy project to benefit your organization with no
financial obligation on your part.
They accept: Used Clothes, Linens, Towels, Hats, Purses, Belts, Paired Shoes and Stuffed Animals
7-G Recycling is an organization dedicated to protecting the environment and
supporting our local communities. We partner with local non-profits, religious
organizations, schools, community groups and others to accomplish the following
goals: recycling of clothing, shoes & household textiles; helping our local
communities fund local programs; and ensuring that the recycled clothing
benefits people in our communities as well as people in third world countries.
They accept: Clothing, Shoes, and Household Textiles
To make a donation over the phone, please call 1-800-725-2769.
They accept: Appliances, Automobiles, Clothing, Shoes Furniture, and Household Goods
Please note: Information above is intended as a guide to
residents. Any omissions are unintentional. Additions, updates, or corrections
should be referred to the Kane County Recycling Office at