Gap partnered with ThredUp—a move that promotes recycling but incentivizes customers to buy more products.

WHAT HAPPENED: Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta and Janie and Jack will offer customers prepaid ThredUp bags, which they can use to mail in their used clothing in exchange for store credit.


  • This partnership promotes sustainability but doesn’t lessen the environmental impact of its manufacturing practices and its over-inventoried stores. There are currently over 50,000 Gap items on ThredUp’s platform and this initiative will likely cause this number to grow. Retailers like Nordstrom and Macy’s and brands like Madewell and Reformation already offer ThredUp recycling bags to customers both online and in-store. ThredUp gives companies the opportunity to partner with its platform in various capacities—Macy’s launched ThredUp shop-in-shops in 40 stores and Madewell introduced a denim recycling program. As one of the industry’s most environmentally unconscious brands, Gap should think further outside of the box—focusing less on programs to incentivize customers to buy more Gap clothing and work toward creating less.
  • ThredUp’s prepaid recycling bags make donating easier for consumers and are also a vital marketing tool for the resale platform. ThredUp’s resale model benefits everyone involved—it allows retailers and brands to show their interest in sustainability (rewarding its customers with a prepaid donation bag every time they buy new products) while ThredUp gains more inventory for its platform and can market itself to various customer groups at the same time. ThredUp’s prepaid bags have likely made the platform the resale partner of choice for clothing companies as it requires very little effort for them to appear environmentally conscious.