Our Story

Red Apple Recycling is a Denver-based independent 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting Colorado education by helping fund wellness and sustainability programs in our local schools. You donate clothing and other small household items, we recycle them and your school earns money! To date, we have raised over $80,000 to continue valued efforts like recycling, composting, creating gardens and wellness programs.

What We Do
We believe that “green” programs are critically necessary in our schools – to teach the youth of today about recycling and sustainability. Red Apple Recycling was established in 2008 as a channel to help fund educational initiatives to involve young people in sustainability and wellness programs.

Red Apple raises these funds primarily by donations of pre-owned and unwanted clothing, shoes, and other textiles from the community. Donations are collected by depositing the items in one of our Little Red Schoolhouses located across many Denver metro locations. The donations are then sold to a local textile company that has been in the Denver area for 100 years, providing jobs and keeping unwanted items out of our landfills.

We work directly with schools and parent/student groups in order to ensure our funding is used for programs and projects that promote effective sustainability issues. The funding is given as a grant directly to the school, PTA, or group that is administering the program or project. That means that you not only recycle when you drop clothing or shoes into a Little Red Schoolhouse (collection box), but you also support important green education in our local schools.

Involving the Community
While education is necessary, enlisting the support of community-oriented businesses is also necessary to help motivate this initiative to educate our youth. People need local businesses, and local businesses depends on local patronage. Red Apple has become a bridge between the two…asking Colorado businesses to support Colorado education and sustainable initiatives (simply by hosting a Little Red Schoolhouse), and asking our schools and our network of school families and friends to give patronage to the businesses that show support for Colorado education. It is working! Young people and families are learning more about sustainability, recycling, and that where you shop makes a difference!

Helping the Environment
Textile statistics show that 85% of our clothing in the United States ends up in landfills. That is millions of tons of clothing that could otherwise be used for other useful ends, dramatically reducing clothing waste. We don’t often think about recycling clothing, but it is a simple and easy way to positively impact our environment, our communities, and local schools. Red Apple Recycling has established connections to ensure the collected clothing goes to the right channels of being re-used or implemented into other useful applications.

Educating Our Youth
Not only is Red Apple Recycling a funding channel for our schools but we also engage in green education. In order to present the importance and effectiveness of recycling to Colorado’s youth, we regularly visit local schools and actively pursue outreach opportunities to connect with tomorrow’s leaders. Laurel Mattrey, the Sustainability Planner for Denver Public Schools has endorsed Red Apple Recycling to help educate and fund their sustainability programs. Our focus is to spread the powerful message of recycle, reuse, and rethink!

How You Can Help
The key to Red Apple’s ability to grant funding to schools is YOU!

First, never throw away your unwanted clothing or shoes. Check out our Little Red Schoolhouse drop off locations and deposit your items in one of the Little Red Schoolhouses. Be sure to check What To Donate for a list of items other than clothing and shoes that you may be able to donate.

Second, take time to thank our hosts and sponsors for connecting with Red Apple Recycling. Unlike other non-local, for-profit companies, Red Apple does NOT pay these hosts or sponsors for allowing a collection box on their property. Red Apple hosts and sponsors are involved to support their community and show their concern for educating Colorado’s youth. Let them know their involvement is appreciated.

Third, if you DON’T have a Little Red Schoolhouse in your neighborhood tell your school or local businesses about Red Apple Recycling and request a collection box in your area.