Recycling Clothing Beyond Rags

For the longest time I thought I was pretty clever in that I recycled clothing that was beyond repair–and beyond being suitable for donation–into cleaning rags.

Then I found out from my mother, who also recycles clothing into rags, that she knew of a local group of knitters who recycled sweaters into yarn for them to use.

That is, they take 100 percent wool sweaters and unravel them, thread by thread, and then reuse those threads to knit and crochet new items.

Her local knitting group is called the Happy Hookers, which if you Google the term, along with the word “knit,” you actually find other knitting groups around the country–and not websites that are inappropriate for children.

Turns out there are lots of ways you can recycle clothing beyond turning them into rags.

I did a little digging and this is what I came up with regarding textile recycling, clothing recycling and more. 

Lululemon Trade In Program

What is the Lululemon Trade In Program? It’s simple.

You can take your gently used clothing from lululemon back to a store.

Then, the store associates will determine if they can sell it in their lululemon like new store. (Did you know such a thing exists?)

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This is what happened when my daughter made an appointment at our local lululemon store.

They determined that her leggings were still good enough to resell.

So, here’s what happened.

One, they gave her store credit, which she could use that day in the store.

However, she saved it for later and shopped online.

And, two, lululemon took her clothing to put in their like new store online.

Now, that’s a win win.

Finally, I need to check to see if any of my lululemon clothing is worth anything.

I would love to have credit to buy new lululemon clothing and be able to keep my old workout clothing out of landfills.

As I said earlier, it’s a win-win.

This could be a great way to make some extra holiday money for gifts.

What used lululemon clothing is worth

Wondering what kind of credit you can get for your used clothing? Here are the guidelines for the lululemon trade in program:

$5 for shirts, shorts and skirts

$10 for hoodies, sweatshirts, sweaters, pants, crops, leggings, dresses, and large bags–that is, backpacks, duffels and totes larger than 10L, according to lululemon.

$25 for outwear

Finally, if you buy something from the Like New lululemon store and want to trade it in later, you can–assuming it’s still in gently used condition.

What lululemon gear is excluded from the trade in program

According to lululemon, the following cannot be traded in for store credit:

“Damaged gear, accessories, footwear, tank tops, yoga props, intimates, sports bras, collaborations, swimsuits, ivivva, small bags, small pouches, toiletry kits and self-care products.”

Here are nine clothing brands, including Lululemon, with resale programs

According to For Days, by recycling clothing you’re saving the following:

  • 27,000 gallons of water
  • 25 pounds of clothing in landfills
  • 197 pounds of CO2 emissions

Bombas Take Back Bag clothes recycling

Update April 2023: Unfortunately, it appears that Bombas has discontinued the Take Back Bag program. That’s too bad.

my bombas take back bag for clothes recycling

Cotton Inc Blue Jeans Go Green

For many years Cotton Inc. (you know, the “cotton is the fabric of our lives” people) have been spearheading a “blue to green” program that encourages people to recycle their denim.

They’ve partnered with many brands to encourage shoppers to recycle denim, including Zappos and Anthropologie.

This article on how to recycle denim explains all of these Cotton Inc programs.


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