Only 15 percent of textile waste is donated or recycled in the United States. About 21 billion pounds of clothing, footwear, towels, bedding, drapery, and other textiles end up in American landfills every year, which adds up to more than 5 percent of the country’s municipal solid waste. At the same time, textile recyclers claim that up to 95 percent of textiles can be reused or recycled.
Encouraging clothing donations and making the donation process easier for consumers are important elements of reducing the amount of textile waste sent to landfill. This week, Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) announced a partnership with Goodwill to promote the donation of used clothing and shoes among online shoppers.
Consumers can print free shipping labels, fill a box with any brand of clean, dry clothing and shoes, affix the label on the box and ship it. Donations will be sent to the nearest participating Goodwill location, free of charge.
“Imagine if each of the hundreds of millions of packages shipped this holiday season also became an opportunity to keep clothing out of landfill and support jobs for people in the community — the impact would be remarkable.” said Michael Kobori, Vice President of Sustainability at Levi Strauss & Co.
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“Ultimately, we hope to make recycling clothing as natural for the consumer as recycling a can or bottle. Making it even easier to donate to Goodwill will help shift consumer behavior and extend the life of clothing and other items.”
For every free shipping label printed and shipped with a donation, LS&Co. will donate $5 to Goodwill up to $50,000 (with a guaranteed minimum of $25,000). Labels printed on Giving Tuesday, December 1, will generate $10 contributions when shipped with a donation box. The donations will be facilitated by a tool called Give Back Box.
“LS&Co. is a company guided by a strong tradition of giving back, and this holiday season we want to give our fans an opportunity to support their local community when they shop on Levi.com and Dockers.com,” said LS&Co.’s Head of Global E-Commerce, Marc Rosen. “Our partnership with Goodwill gives consumers a chance to reuse the boxes they receive from us, fill them with clothing they no longer need and support the important work of Goodwill in the process — it’s a win for online shoppers, the community and the planet.”
Last year, LS&Co. collaborated with Goodwill for their ”Field of Jeans” program, which also encouraged consumers to donate clothing. Other companies have tried similar programs where customers are encouraged to donate something old each time they purchase something new. In the UK, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) encourages people to care for, redesign, reuse, donate, and recycling items through its “Love Your Clothes” campaign.