We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience.
For a complete overview of all cookies used, please see our privacy policy.

How You Can Help Those in Need and Reduce Textile Waste

Home  /  The PRES&S  /  
Business Advice
How You Can Help Those in Need and Reduce Textile Waste

oday, more apparel manufacturers than ever are trying to find new ways of making their products and processes more sustainable for our planet. However, the world as a whole is still playing catch-up with sustainability, because today’s consumers are buying twice as much as they did just ten years ago, but only keeping them for half as long. Unfortunately, that means there’s still a ton of apparel going into our landfills every single day.

To help reduce some of that textile waste and also help our local communities in the process, we recently partnered with Give Back Box’s recycling program.

“It’s no secret that textile waste is a growing problem with large implications for our planet.  We felt it was incredibly important to work toward a solution that makes sense for our customers and industry.”
Kayla Lindy, ESG specialist at S&S

The Give Back Box serves as a seamless platform, so you can easily donate business and household textile items to those in need, while supporting local charities and promoting reuse/recycling of corrugated boxes at the same time.

“Our customers are always looking for ways to give back, and many are searching for options specifically to address misprints and dead stock. With that in mind, a textile recycling program seemed like the natural option to help our customers (and employees) do some good.”
Kayla Lindy, ESG specialist at S&S

Why Give Back Box?

In 2012 while running an online shoe store, Give Back Box founder, Monika Wiela, encountered a homeless Chicagoan holding up a sign asking for shoes. She returned later with a pair to give him, but he was gone. That night, she wondered how, as a retailer with lots of surplus and boxes in her warehouse, she could be part of a solution to help people in need.

Wiela’s initial research revealed a startling fact: Americans discard 11 million tons of textiles annually. Recognizing that people have lots of shipping boxes sitting at home from ecommerce shopping, she devised a solution.

By teaming up with online retailers, Give Back Box lets consumers reuse boxes by filling them with unwanted clothing, shoes and linens, which they can ship for free as donations to charities. This unique program benefits lives and reduces textile waste at the same time.

Since 2012, Give Back Box has shipped and recycled over 1 million boxes, diverting more than 19 million pieces of apparel from landfills — equivalent to 13 million pounds! — and giving them a meaningful second life in supporting local communities. That’s one of the major reasons the Give Back Box program caught our eye.

After doing a deep dive into several programs that curb textile waste, we felt Give Back Box also fit our checklist because of how easy it is for our distributor and printer customers to get involved.

“We wanted to eliminate any possible inhibitors and make sure that the process was easy for anyone that wanted to participate,” Lindy says. “We initiated a partnership with Give Back Box in late 2021 and set up the program in 2022. The setup process was quick and hands-off, since Give Back Box takes care of all the back-end work.”

How Does Give Back Box Work?

Give Back Box makes it easy and hassle-free to donate your old textiles to local charities as often as you’d like.

1. Simply pack your out-of-date inventory, extra samples, damaged blanks, misprints and even your old clothing and shoes from home in the box your S&S order arrived in.

2. Next, visit our Give Back Box site to download a free shipping label, attach the label to your packed donation box, and drop it off at your nearest UPS location.

When your box arrives, the charity stocks its shelves with your donated items, and the funds help fuel its mission of helping people in need via community-based programs, job training, employment placement services and support services. The charities also recycle every box that arrives at their facility.

We know that some donors prefer to select the charity that receives their donation, so you’re also able to do that by selecting a charity and covering the associated shipping cost.

Let’s Make a Difference Together

S&S is in great company partnering with Give Back Box, with a who’s who list of some of the biggest retailers in America, including Overstock, Amazon, Loft, REI, Levi’s, Asics, Ann Taylor, LEGO, Nordstrom, Viva Terra, Ecru, Bonobos, Scrubs & Beyond, eBags, Lou & Grey and many others.

Now that ourprogram is up and running, and available for all S&S customers to use, we’d like to ramp up results as quickly as possible.

“Our goal for the next 12 months is to get 25% of our active customer base participating in the program. In the next year, the goal is to encourage 50% participation among our customers. Eventually, we’d love to hit 100% participation.”
Kayla Lindy, ESG specialist at S&S

The Give Back Box isn’t limited to S&S customers either! Distributors and printers can proactively share the Give Back Box program with end-users as well. “Anyone is welcome to participate!” Lindy says. “We’ve created an S&S branded URL and a generic URL, so our customers can share the program with end-users. We’re also encouraging our employees to take part!”

Moving Toward a More Sustainable Future

Although there’s more work to be done, if we can embrace programs like Give Back Box for textile recycling that’s a huge positive stride forward. “We recognize that recycling textiles isn’t the only solution out there,” Lindy says. “Upcycling and minimizing unnecessary consumption are great ways to start closing the loop. Many of our brands and industry partners are doing exceedingly well at creating and implementing other ways to cut back on textile waste.”

Everyone can take action against textile waste, by supporting sustainable brands, buying gently used clothing, upcycling your favorite pieces and supporting initiatives that promote sustainable practices in apparel manufacturing. “We encourage you to get creative!” Lindy says.

Nov 26, 2023