Old clothes can often turn into cleaning rags or hand-me-downs, but denim rarely gets an easy second life. Madewell’s denim recycling program solves that problem — while helping you buy a new pair for cheap.
What is Madewell’s denim recycling program?
Madewell recycles denim through its partnership with Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program. The partnership turns old jeans into housing insulation for communities in need and rewards those who donate with $20 off select full-priced Madewell jeans.
Participants can drop off their old denim — of any size, brand, or style — at a Madewell store and receive a credit toward their new jeans. From there, the old jeans will be repurposed to help warm the homes of those who need it.
Why does the denim recycling program matter?
It’s easy to take your unwanted clothes, put them into a trash bag, and bring them to a local donation center where you’ll never see them again.
But what happens to the clothes that ultimately aren’t picked out of the pile? Most donated clothes are still thrown away eventually — in fact, 84% of all clothing ends up in a landfill.
As of 2021, Madewell had reportedly kept 548 tons of waste from landfills thanks to its program. Those numbers have only grown since, and there’s no reason to think they’ll slow down given that 80% of Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green insulation comes from recycled denim.
In a blog post on the brand’s website, Madewell designer Jordan Obi talked about how shoppers can hit the “reset button” for next year — namely, by making sure old clothes go to the right places.
“There’s no better time to clear out the things I don’t wear often and refocus on the pieces I’m really into,” he said. “My wardrobe is especially denim-heavy, so I’ll be taking the pairs that don’t make the cut to Madewell for recycling, then choosing new ones more mindfully.”