This Eco-Friendly Brand Just Made It So Easy To Get $$ For Your Old Clothes

mbg Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."

Photo by thredUP

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Organizing your closet and letting go of pieces you don't wear anymore feels pretty amazing. The giant bag of old clothes you're left with afterwards? Not so much.

Luckily these days it's getting easier to get old clothes off your hands responsibly. You can bring them to a thrift store or charity, organize a clothes swap with your friends, or get a little crafty and upcycle old pieces. As word spreads about detrimental impact the fashion industry has on our planet, companies such as H&M, Patagonia, and Eileen Fisher are starting to adopt their own take-back programs to extend a wardrobe's lifecycle further.

And today, ethical retailer Reformation is piloting a program that will hopefully make it even easier (not to mention, more lucrative) to breathe new life into old clothes. The brand, which prides itself on its ethical, sustainable supply chain and commitment to transparency, has partnered with thredUP, a popular online thrift store, to start what is essentially a "sustainable loyalty program."

Here's how it works: Everyone who buys from Reformation will receive an empty bag to fill with old clothes, of any brand, and send in to thredUP free of charge. Then, they'll receive Reformation credits for any pieces the company deems re-sellable on their platform. And they don't have to worry about what to do with the rest either: Anything that's not in great condition will be sent to a textile recycler to be broken down into insulation or rags, or donated to charity.

By making it easier for brands to monetize their own recycling programs, thredUP has created what it hopes will become a new retail model that's a win-win for business and the planet. "It helps brands advance circular practices and drive repeat sales and customer loyalty," Karen Clark, the VP of Communications and Partnerships for thredUP, tells mbg of the program's business appeal.

Clark also sees the digital recycling program—which is expected to expand to 10 other popular clothing retailers in 2019—will help shape the way people shop. After all, if someone factors in an item's re-sale value as they're shopping, they'll probably be less likely to settle for cheaply made fast fashion.

"Consumers are buying more and disposing of clothes faster than ever before, but our mission is all about expanding the life of garments," she adds. "We're thinking about how new products and used products live alongside each other to empower this more circular way of shopping."

Perhaps one of the most environmentally things we can do as a society is shift away from disposable items and towards reusable ones. And we might have just gotten one step closer to doing just that.

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