Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


What does ATRS do?

We love this question. First let’s describe who we are. ATRS is a professional textile recycling company that educates and encourages the public to recycle their unwanted clothing, shoes, toys and household items. All reusable items placed in our care get a new home. After collecting the textiles from our recyclers, we separate and sort items into useful categories. Then we redistribute the goods to many different industries so almost everything is reused or recycled and nothing goes to waste. Our charitable partners receive much-needed funds, while clothing and shoes go to the place where they are most needed. We help families across the US clean out their closets, we assist municipalities in decreasing their landfill waste and we support a growing global economy that creates jobs locally and abroad. It’s a WIN WIN WIN for our communities!


What clothing & shoe items do you accept?

ATRS accepts any and all clothing, shoes, toys and household textiles. This includes new, used, gently worn, dry-cleaned, laundered, out of season, outgrown, misfitting, unwanted clothing in any condition, regardless of gender or size. This includes garments that are worn, torn, missing a button or zipper, have small imperfections, rips or stains. Categories include jackets, coats, sweaters, tops, bottoms, maternity wear, children’s, babies, undergarments, athletic gear, bathing suits, hats, gloves, socks, laptop covers, small luggage, bags, wallets, accessories and jewelry, hospital scrubs, uniforms, corporate shirts with logos, costumes and much more! Household textiles including soft toys, stuffed animals, blankets, sheets, pillows, memory foam pillows, towels, shower curtains, comforters, drapery, mats, small rugs and more are also accepted.


Are you able to accept my worn, torn and stained textiles?

Yes we can! While these unwearable items cannot be resold by local resale or thrift shops, ATRS accepts them all and recycles them into new products. Stained blue jeans are ideal for insulation, torn fabrics become cleaning towels or wiping rags and holey sweaters can be rewoven into thread, just to name a few. If you have clothing, shoes or other household textiles that you can no longer use, drop them off into your nearest ATRS Recycler to give them a second life.


What non-textile items do you accept?

Accepted non-textile household items include books, DVDs, CDs, bookends, picture frames, decorative bowls, vases, figurines and much more. Please only drop off items that fit inside our Clothing & Shoe Recyclers and are not breakable when dropped into a bin. Please kindly observe our NO DUMPING policy and follow your city’s trash requirements. If you are unsure, kindly call our attended 24-Hour Hotline.


What items are not accepted?

Please do not drop off mattresses, box springs, blow-up mattresses, futons, household furniture, appliances, electronics, broken housewares, trash and other debris. Please kindly observe our NO DUMPING policy and follow your city’s trash requirements. As a reminder, dropping bulky waste items in front of ATRS recyclers is illegal. These items should be properly disposed through your city or a local specialty recycler. Remember: if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t belong! If you are unsure, kindly call our attended 24-Hour Hotline.


How can I find a recycler near me?

At ATRS it’s our mission to make textile recycling easy and convenient. Simply call our attended 24-Hour Hotline with your contact info, city and neighborhood location. A Community Relations Coordinator from your city will call you directly with a list of locations near you. ATRS is expanding its service rapidly and new locations are added each week. This is the quickest, most efficient way to identify Clothing & Shoe Recyclers and drop off locations closest to you.


Where can I donate my larger non-textile items?

Yes. Please call our 24-Hour Hotline with your contact info, city and neighborhood location or send an email explaining what you wish to donate or drop off for recycling. A list of our locations and cities appears on our Contact page. A Community Relations Coordinator from your city will call you directly. We ensure your items are matched up to a charity, shelter or philanthropic business that can use what you no longer need.


How does recycling help communities?

This process of reduce, reuse, recycle creates thousands of jobs and economic stimulus in these communities. ATRS partners with worthy non-profit organizations nationwide. These charities receive the full fair market value of donated goods to fund programs and services that stay local and benefit the community. So the charities receive much-needed funds, the clothing and shoes go to the place they are most needed and ATRS helps families across the US clean out their closets.


Where do the clothes go?

The clothes go where they are needed the most. ATRS ensures almost everything is used, nothing is wasted.

  • 45% is usable “as is” in the growing second-hand clothing market
  • 20% is used for upholstery and automotive stuffing
  • 30% is used for industry wiping rags
  • ATRS gives away 3% for disaster relief. This equates to several trailer loads of blankets, warm wear, suits and household items every month

To date, ATRS has diverted approximately 190M pounds of unwanted textiles from local landfills nationwide.


How are the charities paid?

ATRS purchases 100% of all donations collected in the charity bins, regardless of type or quality. We then weigh every pound and pay the charities monthly for all donations collected. Charities are paid the full fair market value for every pound of clothing received. This creates a much-needed revenue stream for local programs and services. In many cases, charities could not keep the doors open or continue to provide services without the funding from their textile program. To date, ATRS has provided over $4.6M to worthy charities nationwide.


How does the process work?

Charities, cities and other organizations partner with ATRS to create Clothing & Shoe Recycling programs they could not afford to run or staff on their own. There is absolutely no start up cost or fee to the charities. ATRS funds the programs entirely. Every ATRS Recycler bears our signature globe logo and the logo of the charity partner we serve. It takes approximately 18-24 months for a textile recycling program to be profitable, but ATRS assumes all the investment costs and charities receive funding from the first day recyclers are placed in communities.


Do the clothes stay local?

All the funding stays local – it directly supports local charities, programs and services. The textiles are redistributed locally, nationally and abroad, depending where they are needed most. ATRS is a first responder to disaster relief and always provides “first pick” to our local charities for anything they need. This includes bedding, furniture, office supplies, household goods, perishables and other non-textile items donated by families, businesses and others in the community.


How does ATRS create revenue?

Like all waste and recycling industries, ATRS is a for-profit company operating entirely in the private sector – same as glass, paper, plastic and metals. There is no government support, subsidy or funding for the service we provide. ATRS provides an easy, convenient recycling solution, completely free to the communities we serve. ATRS does business by grading and sorting everything we receive: nothing goes to waste and almost everything is reused. ATRS creates revenue by redistributing and repurposing unwanted textiles in the circular economy. In the recycling industry, the net profit is literally pennies on the pound. Success depends on streamlined logistics and servicing our communities efficiently.


What are the benefits of partnering with ATRS?

Since 2001, ATRS has been a leader in the textile recycling industry. We are a SMART member (Secondary Materials And Recycled Textiles Association) and meet or beat all aspects of our industry’s Code of Conduct. We are committed to partnering with local non-profit organizations as part of our socially responsible business model, and we are also committed to keeping unwanted textiles from landfills and creating greener communities. ATRS is responsible for creating over 10,000 jobs locally and abroad. We create a favorable tax base and jobs in the communities we serve. ATRS and its employees are reachable 24/7 through our 24-Hour Hotline.


How do the needy benefit from ATRS recycling programs?

Every pound collected by Clothing & Shoe Recyclers displaying a charitable partner logo generates ongoing monthly revenue for local non-profit organizations. This provides support for those in need in our communities. In addition, ATRS sponsors local disaster relief, homeless missions and community centers each month with trailer loads full of blankets, warm clothes, suits and much more. Our charitable giving increases every year as we grow. For a running tally of our charity donations to-date, please visit our website. Watch the stat counter on our landing page for real-time updates.


How can my municipality benefit from ATRS recycling programs?

ATRS offers textile recycling solutions for municipalities, city recycling centers, universities, school systems, homeowners associations and much more. If you are a municipal official, councilperson, solid waste advisor, zoning and planning members, board member or attend chamber of commerce meetings, you can help spread the word about our Clothing & Shoe Recycling programs, services and mission to create a greener tomorrow in the communities where we live, work and play. Please contact a Community Representative at [email protected].


How can my business host a recycler?

Great question! If you are a municipal official, charity, property management company, landowner, business owner, school system employee or church officer, we invite you to reach out to us. We serve communities and neighborhoods in 13 cities nationwide with many more to come. ATRS may currently be in your neighborhood and would love to assist you. Please call us directly or email us your completed sponsor form. These recycling partnerships really work. See our testimonials for more information.


How does ATRS support a marathon, charity walk or green festival?

ATRS provides Clothing & Shoe Recycling support and collection logistics at marathons, charity walks and green festivals across the nation. We are the official textile recycling partner of Competitor Group, Inc., and our recycling teams can be seen in our distinctive green gear at Rock ‘N Roll Marathons in many cities throughout the year. We participate in Walk Like MADD events, Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, YMCA Turkey Dash, fun runs, mud runs and numerous other healthy community events. We are regular sponsors at Earth Day, America Recycles Day, Back To School Shopping & Recycling events and much more. Please contact our Marketing Department to discuss ways we can help your event be even more eco-minded.


I am just one person, how can I help?

Let us answer with a thank you. Every one person who has donated their time, energy and resources to a good cause has asked that same question in the beginning. Yes, one person can make a difference. The next time you clean out your closet, please look for our distinctive ATRS globe logo and support one of our many charitable partners. Consider hosting a Clothing & Shoe Recycling drive at your office, school, church, apartment complex, homeowners association or special event. Help us by volunteering at a community event such as Earth Day, America Recycles Day or one of our many marathon events nationwide. Join the hundreds of neighbors and local businesses that are already helping to spread the mission of a greener tomorrow in our communities.


ATRS does not serve my city yet. Can I mail in my donations?

First, thanks for your interest in ATRS and for being a recycling advocate in your community. Second, as the nation’s fastest growing textile recycler, we are expanding to new cities every year. To find a list of cities we serve, please click here. If we don’t serve your town yet, please feel free to bundle and ship your gently-used, outdated or unwanted clothes, shoes, sporting gear, toys and household textiles to our corporate offices. ATRS ensures everything is graded, sorted, reused or recycled and almost nothing is thrown away.
Attn: Albert Larriu, Production
American Textile Recycling Service, Inc.
10739 West Little York, Suite 100
Houston, TX 77041
Every item you send raises funds for non profit organizations. We appreciate your commitment to supporting our local charitable partners and preserving our natural resources. If you would like to encourage others in your community to do the same, please share your experience on our Facebook page.