How To Save Money Recycling Old Products

posted in: Shopping Tips

If you’re celebrating Earth Month, or if you’re just trying to live a little greener, here are some of my favorite brands and retailers who are taking the extra step in reducing waste by offering product recycling programs. Better yet, many offer rewards and freebies for participating!




Beauty Products


Most empty beauty packaging, except aerosol cans, electronics, perfume or nail polish bottles, and wooden pencils, can be dropped off at Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores for recycling by TerraCycle. TerraCycle also works with Credo, Bliss, and Farmacy.

M∙A∙C Cosmetics

M∙A∙C’s take-back program, BACK 2 M·A·C, helps to reduce the environmental impact of their products and packaging by inviting customers to return 6 empty containers to a M∙A∙C counter in exchange for a free lipstick.  


LUSH USA is asking for all their black and clear pots, which are then used to package new products. Bring in 5 and get a free face mask. 


Kiehl’s offers recycling rewards through their Kiehl’s Family Rewards program. Earn 10 points each time which can then be used towards purchases at the store.


BareMinerals’ Give Back, Get Back program will earn you 20 points or 5 loyalty points for each item – stack those rewards for new products online or in-store. BareMinerals make it easy to recycle by offering recycle kits that can be mailed directly to you.


rack of clothing




With Madewell’s Denim Recycling Program, bring it any old pair of jeans (any brand!) into Madewell and it will be upcycled house insulation. Doing this earns you $20 off on a new pair


The North Face offers a program called “Clothes The Loop” where they offer $10 off your next purchase of $100 or more for recycling your gently used apparel and shoes. Just drop off those items at a store or outlet.


Patagonia’s “Worn Wear” program offers different tiers of rewards (generally $10-100 store credit – see site for details) for old Patagonia apparel and gear, like sleeping bags and backpacks. Items must be in good condition and can be mailed in or dropped off at a store.  


Through their trade-in program, you can earn a $5-$35 store gift card for Levi’s jeans you turn in at a Levi’s store (see the chart on their site to determine the value of your jeans). The jeans are sanitized, repaired, and re-sold. You can also drop off jeans from any brand, and Levi’s will recycle them through Cotton’s Blue Jeans Go Green program. 


With Universal Standard’s Reset, Recycle, and Refresh program, you can earn up to up to $100 in store credit when you send in unwanted items from any brand.  You purchase a recycling bag for $4.50 and fill it with up to four pieces. The pre-labeled bag will ship to their partner Marimole for processing.   


Clothing from any brand, and in any condition, are eligible for H&M’s Close the Loop recycling program. Bring your clothes to any H&M store and receive a thank-you coupon.  Garments are sorted and either sold secondhand, or turned into other products.  


This kids’ retailer has partnered with TerraCycle to help recycle clothing the kids have outgrown. To receive a shipping label, members of Carter’s Rewarding Moments loyalty program can sign up on TerraCycle’s site using the same login. Pack and ship clothing items from any brand to earn bonus points on your Rewarding Moments account (one bonus per month). 

DSW Shoes

You can donate shoes in wearable condition to any DSW store. Through Soles4Souls, those shoes are distributed to those in need. Members of DSW VIP will earn 50 loyalty points (maximum once per week).


Through the Gap for Good partnership with ThredUp, you can pick up a free ThredUp bag at select Gap and sister stores, like Athleta and Banana Republic stores and use it to donate gently worn garments. ThredUp may select items from resale, which you would then receive a commission or store credit. If you choose store credit and use it at Gap, you will get an additional 15% off.  Items that are not chosen for resale will be donated, or returned to you if you choose. 


Through the Eileen Fisher Renew program, you can turn in any Eileen Fisher clothing items for recycling, either in-store or through the mail. You will receive $5 credit for each item. Items in good condition are cleaned, repaired, and resold. The rest is recycled.  


This Japanese fast fashion retailer gives customers the opportunity to donate UNIQLO items they no longer wear. Items will be donated to people in need, repurposed into other products, or in Japan only, refreshed and sold secondhand.  Customers can also have their UNIQLO items repaired. At the moment, the retailer doesn’t offer anything in exchange for returning your used items. 


tech products




Electronics are recyclable too. You can always try to get cash for your electronic trade-in but if it doesn’t qualify, Microsoft will recycle your device so it can avoid a landfill.  


Apple’s trade-in program works very similarly to Microsoft’s – it just depends the type of electronic you need to get rid of. If your device doesn’t qualify for store credit, Apple will recycle it for free.


Spend at least $30 on ink and toner cartridges and recycle them at Staples (drop them in-store or they can be mailed in) within 180 days to earn $2 back in rewards. The monthly maximum is 10 cartridges.


TerraCycle partners with brands to offer “recycle rewards” that can be redeemed for donations to a non-profit or school of your choice. Some of their partnerships include: 

Garnier – Garnier is specifically asking for lids and spray pumps for their TerraCycle campaign.

Gillette – Gillette offers the World’s First National Razor Recycling program through TerraCycle – this is a great way to recycle all your old razor blades (no matter the brand).

EOS – Recycle those empty lip balm containers and earn 100 points with TerraCycle for every pound of packaging you send in!

Credo – Credo will reward you with 10 Credo Reward Points when you bring in empty and clean product packaging – win-win!

Herbal Essences – Herbal Essences offers their free recycling program with TerraCycle, much like Garnier and Gillette.

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Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist and TV commentator who has specialized in smart shopping, personal finance, and retail for more than a decade. She has appeared on TV over 1,000 times; including Today Show, GMA3, NBC Nightly News, Inside Edition, and network affiliates nationwide. She has been named a Top Voice in Retail by LinkedIn, and her expert commentary has appeared in Forbes,, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, and numerous others.