How To Recycle Clothing and the Reality of Donating

Posted by Mason Hainey on

Doing some spring Cleaning? Does it Spark Joy

As things start to warm up and the stir-craziness of late winter start to set in, I’m sure many of you are starting the annual spring-clean. But before you decide to donate heaps of random unwanted goods, hear me out.  

If you follow my personal accounts in any capacity, you know the that I love to thrift. I frequently visit many, many secondhand stores. In fact I’m there so regularly that I  have built up a relationship with many of the employees ( it’s how I get such good deals… like my $2 embroidered arm chair). My frequent visits have offered me a deeper look into the inner workings of many of these stores and what REALLY happens to the stuff you donate. 


MIZU brand how to recycle clothing avoid landfill

50% of Household Goods Go to the Landfill. 


So here’s the process; 

- You arrive with garbage bags full of miscellaneous things. 

- Employees break open bags and sort ( Gentle is usually not their style; breakage occurs )

- Employees alone decide if something is worthy of the shelf or the trash bin. 

- Anything labeled trash ( i.e. broken, damaged, random odds/ends,  things they won't sell ) goes in the dumpster, AKA Landfill. 


The thing is, many of the donated things that end up being tossed in the garbage are recyclable. Glass. Papers. Maybe the occasional plastic. So, while the intention of donating your wares is in the right place, it might end up having a negative outcome. 

Please note: This is a widespread observation and doesn't hold true for every store. Each store & business operates with different policies. 


Before you donate- ask yourself these things: 


  • What store am I donating to- will they actually sell this? 
  • Is this recyclable? Would it be better If I just toss in the recycle bin? 
  • Can I donate this to a shelter instead of a store? 

MIZU brand recycling garments and clothes

Garments & Clothes

The BEST thing you can donate to secondhand stores is your clothing. ( even better- donate to a shelter ).  There is never a shortage of people who need clothes and because most secondhand stores will have no problem selling your used garments, it is very rare that any are determined to be ‘trash’ and thrown in the dumpster. 


But did you know you can RECYCLE Clothing? 


A 2016 study found that the average American will throw away 81 POUNDS of clothing annually.

Clothing, even of natural fibers, take a decades to decompose in a landfill due to lack light or oxygen. 

But here’s the good news, clothes ( of any fiber or condition ) CAN be recycled.. but not in your recycle bin.  Recycled clothing is typically either re-purposed into cleaning wipes or rags, or further cleaned and refined to create a new post-consumer textile material to create new garments. Learn more


To recycle clothing you need to find or contact a Clothing Recycle drop site. 

Some stores like H&M or The North Face will accept any clothing from any brand to recycle. ( I’d recommend calling ahead first to makes sure your local store still offers this )

Shoes: Some stores like Nike offer free recycling on any brand of athletic shoe. They grind them up and turn the rubber into new courts, tracks ad playgrounds. 

To find a local drop off site near you, you can visit


Garage Storage DIY old peanut butter jar

An easy way to re-use glasses


Chances are, you have a pretty good stockpile of old glasses, vases, miscellaneous pieces things that you just don’t want anymore.
Most of these are recyclable, but if you’re looking for an a few ways to re-use around the house; here’s some ideas.  

Food Storage - If you’re someone who likes to cook, having some of these jars available to re-use as storage is extremely convenient. I like to make my own almond butter ( it’s deceivingly simple ), and having a couple old glass jars to re-fill works perfectly. 

Garage Storage - use an old peanut butter or salsa jar as storage for nails or misc. parts. BONUS: screw the lid to the underside of a shelf, allowing your jars to become ‘hanging’ storage. Great for small, organized spaces. 

Office Storage- old pill bottles or cosmetic containers work well for thumbtacks, paperclips, etc. 

Plants - Have a big jar? Plant something in it. Succulents work well in small jars. Just be sure not to overwater ( adding some gravel to the bottom of the jar will help drainage )! 



In 2019 I will be opening up a REFILL Shop to; If you have some interesting vessel or glass container that you think would be perfect for a candle- save it for this! Don’t know if it will work? Email mason@mizubrand and I’ll help you figure it out. 

Getting organized and decluttered is a great way to feel mentally refreshed.  But please donate mindfully and think about the Bigger Picture before you toss something in the trash because it's an easier solution. 



Okay, ready? 

I challenge you to re-use one bottle this month. Clean out an old peanut butter jar, some old face cream, an old candle jar. Scrape away the label if you can and use it for something unique. 

Send me a photo and I will give you 10% OFF Your next purchase. 

Challenge ends March 30th, 2019. 

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