Are you about to donate clothes, but unsure if Goodwill takes underwear, bras, and socks? Here’s all you need to know on how to dispose undergarments sustainably.
Donating your clothes is one of many sustainable alternatives to throwing them in the garbage. However, sustainable fashion is not just about purchasing secondhand items, buying clothes from sustainable brands, renting clothes online, or simply reducing our clothing consumption. It is also about how we dispose of clothes when they are worn out and can’t be donated.
In the United States, the textile industry produces about 17 million tons of waste every year, and only 2.5 million tons were recycled in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A lot of people are already doing something about it and donating their clothes to places such as Goodwill or The Salvation Army. But do these places accept undergarments? The answer is no; Goodwill does not take underwear, bras, and socks. But not to worry! In this article, we’ll show you how you can dispose of your underwear responsibly and help reduce waste.
Does Goodwill Take Underwear, Bras, and Socks?
Most thrift stores such as Goodwill and The Salvation Army do not accept underwear, bras, or socks. But you can still dispose of undergarments in an environmentally conscious way. The best alternative when selling, donating, or repurposing underwear isn’t an option is recycling. But how does one recycle underwear, bras, and socks sustainably? Easy: you send them to one of the following organizations:
- USAgain: This recycling company takes nearly any kind of clothing, including underwear, bras, and socks. They have drop-off boxes throughout the United States, where people can dump their used clothing. Those clothes that are in good condition are sold again, while others – including underwear –, are recycled or upcycled.
- B.R.A (The Bra Recycling Agency): The main purpose of this woman-owned organization is to keep bras out of landfills. Instead, they take your bra and transform it into a new product. If you want to send them your bras, you can get a shipping label directly from their website.
- Planet Aid Boxes: This organization also has drop-off bins located in major cities. If you can’t find one near you, get a shipping label and mail your clothes to them up to a certain amount of weight.
- Knickey: This lingerie store recycles underwear, bras, and socks, which then turn into materials used for insulation and furniture batting. You can get a shipping label on their website and mail your undergarments straight to them. The best part? They send you a free pair of underwear on your next order!
- Parade & Terracycle Recycling Program: The underwear brand Parade recently partnered with Terracycle to create the “Second Life” recycling program. They encourage their customers to send their old, clean underwear in exchange for store credit.
You Should Donate Your Clothes — And Here’s Why
We all get tired of the same clothes over time, and sometimes we don’t know what to do with old clothes. However, in the fast-fashion world we live in, we must remember how important it is to dispose of clothing correctly. Just because you are tired of your clothes doesn’t mean another person wouldn’t love them. Donating to charity is a great alternative to give a second life to your worn items. And most importantly, both the planet and someone else will benefit from it. Here are a few reasons that might encourage you to donate your used clothes:
- Supporting a Good Cause: There are many people in need of usable clothing who might not be able to get them any other way. If you throw away your clothes, they won’t have a chance to reuse them.
- Giving Your Clothes a Second Life: When you donate your clothes, someone else will wear them and enjoy them just like you once did – they will be giving new life to your old clothes! You probably don’t get much use of a sweater you no longer like, but someone else will buy it at a thrift store or receive it as a donation, instead of purchasing a brand-new item.
- Helping the Planet – a Lot: Most clothing waste can’t be recycled and ends up being thrown away in landfills. Have you ever wondered what happens to the environment when clothing items sit in the landfill for a long time? They contribute to microplastics and release dangerous chemicals due to the fabrics they are made with, most of which are not sustainable.
Other Items You Can Donate to Goodwill
Generally, Goodwill and most other thrift stores only take gently used items that are still in good condition and can be reused. In addition to clothing items, you can also donate other household items, such as:
- Small appliances: sandwich makers, vacuum cleaners, blenders, coffee makers, etc.
- Books and toys.
- Some kitchenware, such as pots and pans, dishes, and containers.
- Furniture, including couches, bed frames, tables, and chairs.
- Certain tools, such as hand tools and those for lawn and garden.
- Exercise and sports equipment: workout items, weights, basketballs, footballs, hockey gear, etc.
- Cars: Yes, you can donate your car too! However, you will need to call them in advance (877-731-6011) and speak with a Goodwill representative.
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