Uniqlo Japan’s new recycling project will pay customers for old clothes

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

Uniqlo fans in Japan are in for a treat. The casual wear retailer’s new recycling project, Re:Uniqlo, will pay its customers in exchange for their old clothes.

Until November 30, customers can receive digital Uniqlo coupons in exchange for their old Heat Tech shirts, down vests, or down jackets.

According to the retailer, donated clothing in good condition will be sent to places in need like refugee camps, UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other non-profit organisations, while the unwearable items will be recycled into new pieces.

To participate in the recycling project, customers just need to bring their old Uniqlo clothing to a Uniqlo store, and they’ll receive digital coupons worth 200 yen per Heat Tech item or 1000 yen per down-based item. Customers can use their digital coupons until February 28 next year.

Uniqlo Japan digital coupons
Photo: Uniqlo Japan digital coupons

However, there’s a limit of 1000 yen for recycling Heat Tech items. Meaning even if you bring fifty Heat Tech shirts, you would still get 1000 yen maximum – scarves and blankets are excluded from the program.

Uniqlo’s parent Fast Retailing, which also owns other brands including J Brand and Theory, has also joined the 2030 Microfibre Commitment, a global initiative to minimise the impact of microfibres on natural resources. 

Every time synthetic fabrics are washed, millions of microfibres are released into the water. Because microfibres are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment facilities, they end up in the ocean, rivers, and waterways, damaging the environment and harming marine life.

Companies who joined the initiative will work together to address the problem of fibre fragmentation from clothing textiles by conducting tests on products, improving the manufacturing process, and contributing data to build an industry-wide database and assessment system. 

The initiative hopes to have 80 per cent of its member companies adopt research-based standards so that the release of microfibres into the environment is managed appropriately.

Kaycee Enerva

Kaycee Enerva

A digital content manager based in the Philippines, Kaycee Enerva has written for multiple publications over several years. A graduate of Computer Science, she exchanged a career in IT to pursue her passion for writing. She's slowly practicing sustainability through period cups, and eating more plant-based food.