Reducing Waste

As a Los Angeles Certified Green Business, doing good for our planet and our community is part of our mission. Project Ropa’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond giving a second life to clothing and shoes.

Textile Recycling

Each year, Americans send more than 12 million tons of clothing and textile waste to landfills. In all, the fashion industry generates 4% of the world’s solid waste, or 92 million tons a year, exceeding the amount of toxic e-waste, according to one recent recycling report. The tragedy is that 95% of discarded clothes and textile waste can be reused or recycled. By contrast, says the World Resources Institute, it takes about 715 gallons of water to produce one new cotton shirt. A pair of jeans “costs” 1,800 gallons. Repurposing a gently used garment extends its life on average by 2.2 years, greatly reducing its carbon, waste and water footprint.

What We Do

Project Ropa is your one-stop reuse and recycling resource for new and secondhand clothing and shoes. We rescue, redistribute, repurpose, recycle and resell new and gently used surplus threads, shoes and accessories, including slightly damaged and imperfect pants, shirts, dresses, sneakers and bags.

We distribute the vast majority of these items to the homeless and others in need in the Los Angeles area, either directly at our mobile service locations or through our community partners.

Volunteer sorting clothing donations at Project Ropa's warehouse.

Rescue & Redistribute

We work with companies, nonprofit organizations and individuals to give surplus, sample, imperfect and secondhand clothing and shoes a second chance at life.

The practice of diverting textiles from landfills to those in need represents a pragmatic and compassionate strategy that not only reduces waste but also fosters a more sustainable and environmentally conscious society.

By intercepting these items before they reach landfills, we contribute to a significant reduction in the volume of textiles that would otherwise decompose and release into the atmosphere harmful greenhouse gasses, such as methane. This proactive approach aligns with the principles of the circular economy, as it extends the lifespan of clothing and shoes, minimizing the demand for new production and conserving the resources that go into making them. 

Moreover, diverting these items to local communities fosters a sense of social responsibility and interconnectedness, as individuals and businesses are not only reducing waste but also contributing to the well-being of their neighbors in need.

Repurpose & Recycle

Threads – Our mending, repurposing and textile recycling partners include Tersus Solutions

Plastic film – We also recycle plastic materials that come to us in packaging or in other ways. All plastic film items are given to our recycling partner Ridwell, which sends the items to Trex, which then turns them into new decking materials.

Multi-layer plastics – All multi-layer plastics such as granola bar wrappers are also given to Ridwell, which sends them to Hydroblox, which recycles them into drainage materials that direct stormwater into aquifers.


To help defray our operating expenses, we sell a small percentage of donated items to the public at local flea markets and online. We do not send any of these items overseas.

We might sell such things as a Chanel handbag or Christian Louboutin shoes, vintage wear or pieces that are mended or repurposed. All proceeds directly fund our services.

Photo of pants stacked on tables and shirts hung up on clothing racks.
Clothing donation pick up from Sierra Subaru of Monrovia with staff posing near Project Ropa's van.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The high consumption and disposal of fast fashion are creating large amounts of post-consumer textile waste, making recycling and reuse that much more urgent. 

Project Ropa partners with companies that understand the importance of social responsibility and want to join us in doing good within the community. By supporting our organization, they are helping us to transform lives and find jobs for those most in need.