Don’t throw away that pair of old skinny jeans or that empty makeup pot. They could save you some money on new clothes, get you free stuff and even make you feel good about helping the environment.
While retailers roll out back-to-school sales this time of year, many also have little-known year-round programs that reward customers for recycling. Who doesn’t like extra discounts on top of a good deal?
Retail recycling is gaining steam as clothing and shoe companies strive to be more sustainable and as customers become more environmentally and financially conscious, experts say.
“It is a feel-good moment to give when you know it will be recycled or donated … and to be handed a voucher for $20 off or $5 off,” said Susan Reda, editor at STORES Media for the National Retail Federation.
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“When (customers) are aware of these programs, they will embrace them,” Reda said. “The hard part is making people aware.”
Here’s a list of stores that reward customers for recycling:
1. H&M, which has a store at River Park, started its garment recycling program in 2013. It collects old clothes in the store and ships it to I:CO, a global textile recycling company, to sort. Wearable items are sold at secondhand stores. Unwearable pieces are recycled into cleaning cloths or turned into textile fibers used in building insulation.
Now through Aug. 20, customers can receive two 15 percent off coupons for every bag of unwanted clothes brought into the store. Normally, it’s one coupon per bag.
2. Madewell will take your old jeans, any brand, and give you $20 off a new pair. The women’s clothing store, with a location in Fig Garden Village, partners with Blue Jeans Go Green to turn jeans into housing insulation.
3. Cosmetics company Lush, which is known for its fresh ingredients and no testing on animals, will take back five black pots and give you a free face mask.
The pots, which are made with recycled material, are returned to the company’s Vancouver supplier and remade into containers. Fresno has a Lush store in the outdoor portion of Fashion Fair mall.
Fashion Fair has a MAC store and a counter at Macy’s in the mall.
5. Customers can receive gift cards for recycling phones, computers and other devices at the Apple Store. The cards vary in amount depending on the condition of the item.
For example, a good working iPhone 5 could net $45, according to an online estimate, while an iPhone 7 could bring $375. There is an Apple Store in Fashion Fair.