RefRecycling

Ref Recycling

They deserve a second chance


The U.S. alone throws away over 16 million tons of textiles a year, a lot of which sits in landfills for pretty much ever. We don’t want our stuff to go to waste, so we’re giving you ways to keep it out of the trash and on people.


Say hi to new and improved RefRecycling, engineered for keeping your clothes around.

If you still love it

You’re still into it, but it needs some work. Keep your clothes around longer with simple repairs or embellishments.  → Rewear

If someone else
would love it

For stuff you don’t want, but someone else might. Get a kit and get rid of it with thredUP. We’ll give you Ref Credit for everything you sell.   → Resell

If you loved it too much

Whether you loved it to death or it was just a fling, RefRecycling helps you recycle anything you can’t rewear or resell with help from our friends at SuperCircle.  → Recycle

We’ve been reusing and recycling clothes since 2015, but this is the first time we’re making new Ref out of old Ref.


By breaking clothes down back into fiber, we can turn them into new products, with as few materials as possible.

To do it, we need our stuff back.


So we’re paying you to send us Ref shoes, denim, sweaters, and activewear you don’t want anymore. You get rid of stuff you no longer want, and we get to make clothes with recycled materials. It’s pretty much a good thing all around.

How do I recycle my stuff?

Recycling your most-loved stuff is easy. Drop off your items at any of our domestic retail locations or initiate a recycling request on our website. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Select the Ref products you want to recycle (shoes, sweaters, active, or denim)
  2. Print a free shipping label or select drop off “in-store”
  3. Drop cleaned items at any UPS location or Reformation store
  4. Enjoy your hard-earned Ref credit*

How much do I get for my stuff?

Shoes - $25
Denim - $15
Sweaters - $10
Active - $10


Can I recycle unwearable clothing?

Yep—that’s our favorite kind to recycle. If you have clothing that can be reused, we recommend reselling it with thredUP.


Why is textile waste a problem?

While being naked is the #1 most sustainable option, we get that people are going to keep buying clothes. The good thing is, there are actually enough clothing and textiles in existence today to meet our global annual demand. We just have to keep them out of landfills and in the fashion system. That way, we cut waste and use fewer new materials. Learn more right here.


Why should I recycle my clothing?

The U.S. alone throws away over 16 million tons of textiles a year, a lot of which sits in landfills for pretty much ever. Most cities aren’t set up to process textile waste at recycling centers, so it will likely end up in the landfill. Our RefRecycling program keeps clothes in circulation or recycles them to be made into new stuff. More opportunities for clothing recycling contributes to lower demand, and thus lower emissions for making virgin materials.


Why should I recycle my shoes?

Shoe recycling is complex, so most unwanted footwear ends up in a landfill or incinerator. Discarded shoes take forever to break down, and leave behind plastic, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals while they do it. We’re big on taking care of your stuff and finding ways to make it last longer, or keeping it in circulation through resale or donation. But once your shoes have really reached the end of their life, the materials they’re made of can still be used to create something else. We make Ref Shoes from high-value stuff that’s meant to be recycled, so we can keep materials out of landfills and in use for as long as possible.


Can I send in product that isn’t Ref to be recycled?

For now, we’re only focusing on our own stuff. It helps to know the fabric composition or shoe components of a product in order to recycle it properly. For non-Ref items, we recommend donating through thredUP.


Are there any clothing items I should not send back?

We’re starting out with recycling shoes, activewear, sweaters, and denim made by Reformation. We’ll let you know when we start accepting more stuff.


Why can’t everything be recycled with SuperCircle?

Textile recycling is complicated. We’re starting small and focusing on product categories that can be more easily recycled back into new clothing instead of made into something of lesser value. Our plan is to find more recycling solutions so we can take back more stuff we make.


Will any of my recycled clothing end up in landfills?

No, the goal of this program is to make new clothing from old clothing. It’s not perfect, so some things may be downcycled, but nothing is ever sent to the landfill.


Is RefRecycling available internationally?

Right now, RefRecycling is only available in the US, but we are looking to expand this program in the near future. Stay tuned.


Is my stuff being downcycled, recycled, or upcycled?

Recycling is an umbrella term. Under the umbrella is downcycling and upcycling. Downcycling happens when stuff is recycled to produce new items of lesser quality than the original item. Upcycling is when stuff is recycled to produce new items of equal or higher value than the original item.


Textiles:
Through our friends at SuperCircle, and some incredible recycling partners, we are able to upcycle a lot of your denim, active, and sweater. What is unable to be upcycled, will be downcycled, to ensure none of it ends up in landfill.


Shoes:
Technically, all the materials from our shoes are separated into second life products that have less value than the first footwear product, so the original shoe is downcycled. As we develop material pipelines for all of our componentry, we hope to shift to upcycling or getting these materials back into our shoe supply chain.


What happens to my recycled clothing?

Our friends at SuperCircle find qualified waste management partners who break down our stuff into raw materials. We then work with them to connect these raw materials to fiber-to-fiber recyclers to make fiber that we can use in future Ref product.


What are my Ref Shoes getting recycled into?

The footwear you bring back is repurposed into a variety of different products. Most are primarily related to building materials and infrastructure purposes, like flooring mats and parking bumpers. As we progress further in our process we will keep you updated for any interesting circularity pilots.