When I told our H&M loving daughters that I wanted to write about the 15 percent off discount that H&M offers to people, who bring used clothes to their stores to donate, the girls were skeptical.

“Good luck with that,” one of them said,  clearly not convinced that the discount would be easy to get.

But I was pretty confident it would work since I had first heard about this generous policy when the Opry Mills store opened in the summer of 2013, and I had recently contacted the company to confirm that the offer was ongoing.

“Yes, we offer Garment Recycling in all markets,” H&M officials said in an email response to my inquiry about the policy. “H&M was the first fashion company to have a clothing collecting initiative worldwide. Every year, tons of textiles end up in landfill, but as much as 95 percent of these textiles could be used again. We want to offer an easy solution for our customers to leave their old garments with H&M and at the same time do something good for the environment.”

So this week, I gathered up several unwanteds from my closet and sauntered into the Cool Springs Galleria H&M, which has rightly earned the reputation for “cute cheap” with its lines of clothing and accessories for infants through adults.

When I approached the checkout counter, I saw a bin inviting customers to take advantage of the policy: “15 % OFF YOUR NEXT PURCHASE!  Recycle your unwanted clothes and home textiles at the cash register to receive your coupon.”

Easy peasy!

Even better news was the very helpful clerk telling me that I could use the H&M Conscious coupon on my entire purchase on the day of the donation, or  I could hold on to it and use the discount on a future purchase. Since I was not buying much, I was glad to be able to save it.

As she rung up my purchase and handed me the coupon, I asked her if many people took advantage of the recycling program, she said not many people seemed to know about it.


Well, well!  Hopefully, I can spread the word because 15 percent off can make a difference, and apparently H&M believes it’s program is making an environmental difference too.

My girls were impressed with the news of my success, especially when I mentioned that now that I had a 15 percent off coupon that was good for an entire purchase on a later date, I could take them both with me on an H&M shopping spree.

Go Mama!

And if you wonder what happens to the clothing and textiles you donate,  H&M  says some is sold as second hand clothing, some is reused by being converted to other products like cleaning cloths, and some is turned into textile fibers, “with the ultimate goal of being able to recycle all clothing waste and achieve a closed loop for fashion.”

Here is how to get the H&M I Collect discount: Bring a bag with three clothing items to donate, and get 15 percent off that day or on your next purchase. Although the corporate response said the discount would be on one item,  the coupon said “15 percent off your entire purchase.”  The company, whose web site says more than 22,000 tons of garments have been recycled globally since the program started, also says “you can hand in any clothes you no longer want  – no matter what brand or condition they are in.”

Nice!

More recycling 

Speaking of recycling, here is a reminder of the UniCycle program that collects and distributes Standard School Attire (SSA, the requirement at all MNPS schools)  to homeless children in our Metro Nashville school system.

The program, a brainchild of parent/volunteer Jami Oakley, started at the beginning of school last year and gave out more than 3,500 pieces of donated clothing before year end.

“We have already give out 1,000 pieces this year,” said Oakley,  who says she has taken “a little bit of a Robin Hood approach” to collecting uniform pieces from more affluent school families redistributing them to needy local students.

UniCycle partner schools that are on the giving and receiving ends of UniCycle include Cockrill Elementary, Ross Early Learning Center, KIPP/Kirkpatrick, Percy Priest Elementary, Glendale Elementary, Waverly-Belmont Elementary, West Meade Elementary, H.G. Hill Middle, West End Middle, Donelson Middle, Hillwood High School, Bellevue Middle School, Valor Academy, Harpeth Valley Elementary and Whitsitt Elementary.

With more than 3,000 homeless children in our Nashville/Metro school system, there is clearly a  need for this kind of uniform recycling.

So if you have SSA items that your children have outgrown, this is a great way to pass them on to help others.   Pickups/dropoffs of donations, or other offers of help for the program, can also be arranged by emailing unicycle.nashville@gmail.com. More information and updates at www.facebook.com/unicycle.nashville. Or call 713-301-7815.

 By the way if you wonder what H&M stands for, the answer is Hennes & Mauritz. The chain got its start in Vasteras, Sweden, in 1947 as a women’s clothing store called Hennes. In 1968, when founder Erling Persson bought the hunting and fishing store Mauritz Widfoss, it took on the double name Hennes & Mauritz, and the sales of women’s and men’s clothing began. The first store outside of Scandinavia was in London in 1976, and the first U.S. store to open was the one on Fifth Avenue in New York in 2000. Opry Mills opened in 2013 and CoolSprings this year. 

Stay cheap!

Reach Ms. Cheap at 615-259-8282. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/mscheap, and at Tennessean.com/mscheap, and on Twitter @Ms_Cheap, and catch her every Thursday at 11 a.m. on WTVF-Channel 5’s “Talk of the Town.”