How to Recycle Clothing in Seattle

How to Recycle Clothing in Seattle

You may know that the fashion industry creates more carbon emissions than international flights. You may know that millions of tons of textiles end up in landfills every year. But do you know what to do about it?

Recycling clothes isn’t as simple as throwing a can into a bin by the street – but it’s not difficult and definitely worth it. (Especially when you get a gift card out of the deal.) Whether you’re struggling to find room in your closet or making a lasting New Year’s resolution, here are some ways to breathe new life into your clothes old.

Know of any other great laundry recycling programs we should mention? Notify our editor Zoe Sayler at [email protected]

King County Thread Cycle

For things that are definitely not suitable for reuse, King County transfer stations will recycle almost any textile that is not damp, moldy or contaminated with a hazardous substance (a small stain of spaghetti sauce does not count). Check out this handy map for a full list of drop-off stations and thrift stores that accept textiles, or get more information on collection bins and other options from Threadcycle partner organisations.

The girlfriend collective

Seattle’s patron saint of sports makes its products from recycled bottles. When they reach the end of their life with you, you can send those products back to be reincarnated as baggy pants, leggings with pockets—you get the idea. You’ll need to purchase a shipping label for $7 (one per product), but you’ll get a $15 store credit in return.


Madewell—which has local locations in Bellevue and U Village—offers a generous denim recycling program, even if you’re not already a fan. Bring any of your previously worn jeans (“the boots from high school, the baggy ones from your skating days, the bright red ones from who knows when”) and receive a $20 Madewell gift card. You know what they say: One man’s trash is another man’s residential insulation.

Nordstrom Beautycycle

Of course, this isn’t technically one clothing program. But it’s a godsend for anyone looking to recycle beauty product packaging, like empty shampoo bottles and eyeshadow palettes. Seriously, what are you supposed to do with that stuff? Pick them up at Nordstrom or Rack and throw them in one of the collection’s big pink bins, that’s what.


Seattleites treat Patagonias like small children treat teddy bears—sometimes they get a little too much love. You won’t get store credit for this, but if the thought of your beloved “beyond-help” fur getting a new lease on life gives you the warm fuzzies (Patagonia tries to recycle recycled products), drop into the center of city ​​or send it back. For items still very much worn, the Worn Wear program offers credit or repair options at Patagonia and is also a great way to get outdoor gear for a more reasonable price.


Sometimes, you have to bring in the pros: Seattle-based Ridwell removes the more obscure recyclables, like plastic wrap and household batteries, that you’ve agonized over tossing in the trash. Clean clothes, shoes, towels, sheets and fabric scraps included a lot.

Cargo stores

You might not think of consignment as a form of recycling, but it basically works like a trade-in program that’s lax on rules (although they can Be very careful about the items they carry—shops usually list their preferred brands and styles online, and it pays to plan ahead). Here’s our list of some great local consignment shops to get you started.

REI Trade-In

REI Co-op members can take advantage of our local outdoor giant’s robust trade-in program, which takes products in good condition that were once sold by REI (ie, they’d probably get your North Face , even if you buy it elsewhere) and offers you a gift card in return. Check their site to see what products they accept and how much money you can get for each. Consider dropping off in-store on shipping to save on the $6 shipping cost—bonus points from the planet and other REI shoppers if you bike there.

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