Commerce Trends

Recycling sucks, so we made it easy

Recycling sucks, so we made it easy

Where we gonna put all these clothes?

Unless you live under a rock, you know the fashion industry has a big, fat waste problem.

It’s bad.

And while we’re as aware as ever, solving it seems like anyone’s guess.

What’s worse is that some brands (we won’t put them on blast here!) are greenwashing their way through it all, claiming the badge of sustainability without the accolades of doing anything sustainable.

Using clever marketing tactics to create an illusion of eco-friendliness without implementing substantial changes undermines consumer trust and perpetuates the status quo, hindering genuine progress toward sustainability.

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that roughly 15.1 million tons of textile waste were generated in the United States alone in 2019, with only 2.5 million tons recycled. 

These have severe environmental consequences, too, not the least of which include pollution, resource depletion, and greenhouse gas emissions.

We’ve got to shake some things up, like yesterday.

Why it’s so d*mn hard to launch a recycling program

Great, so the planet’s burning, and we know we should recycle products, or else it’s all our fault.

Got it.

But even in 2023, launching an in-house program is painfully difficult for brands. You can’t just “launch” a program, and here’s why…

Everything’s fragmented

Thanks to globalization, there is endless technology, tooling, and organizations; more is needed to connect them.

Expensive AF

For many brands, if you aren’t large enough or don’t meet a specific order volume, recycling companies won’t work with you, and if they do, you’ll be charged an astronomical amount. 

Build, and they will come?

Not always. As consumers, we know that thinking proactively about sustainability isn’t a top priority. The reality is that there’s not enough education or adoption to shift people’s behavior (yet). And that is on the brand’s side to help educate.

Following the rules

Every country has different rules and laws, and most brands don’t have the time of day to research if they’re being compliant with everything.

Real brands with real recycling programs

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Launching a recycling program in-house is achievable, and here are some examples of brands in the wild, each doing things a bit differently.


Nisolo, a shoe brand based in Nashville, Tennessee, makes men’s and women’s footwear and leather goods. As a certified B-corp, Nisolo is an authentic circular fashion brand. They want to be sustainable at every touchpoint in a customer’s journey, from using recyclable materials for packaging to offering a takeback program to keep thousands of pairs from ending up in landfills.


Sephora’s Beauty (Re)Purposed program, their nationwide takeback program to reduce packaging waste, is a massive example for the beauty industry to follow. Over 600 Sephora stores in the U.S. and Canada now accept packaging from any brand for recycling, covering the costs for shoppers.

The program creates circularity with products, allowing Sephora to engage with customers realistically, and helps Sephora gather essential data on returned materials.

Noah NY

Noah, based in New York City, is another clothing brand focused on sustainability from all angles. 

Their recycling program, Not Dead Yet, encourages customers to return their used Noah items in exchange for store credit. 

Customers can put the credit towards new purchases when they bring or send back the items, allowing Noah to wash, repair, and resell them or donate them to organizations like New York Cares. Unwearable items are recycled into wiping rags or low-grade fiber products.

We got whatchu need

Lucky for you, we’ve built a solution at Swap for this very purpose. We automate everything post-sale for you because we’re good at it. That means you’ll never have to deal with negotiations, compliance, or hunting for buyers who want your inventory.

Here’s how it works—

Don’t need that extra inventory?

We’ll connect you to a global recycling partner network who will repurpose it accordingly. No minimum volume is required.

Sell your inventory and make some $$

Connect your inventory to our retail network and find buyers in a few clicks, discreetly offloading products while we do the heavy lifting.


You can use our warehouse to consolidate your recycled collections rather than sending them as one-offs.

Go digital

Ditch those Excel spreadsheets and manage every aspect of the post-sale experience from your Swap Dashboard.

Taking ownership of your recycling initiatives with a genuine commitment to sustainability ultimately earns customer loyalty and trust, setting you and your products apart from the masses. 

And you can take all the credit for it; we’re just here to make you look good.

Want to learn more?

Chat with your Account Manager or book a demo with our team if you're new here.

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