One man’s (or woman’s) trash is another’s treasure. If you are sick and tired of your old wardrobe, pack your bags with everything you don’t want to wear and head to a hotel participating in a swap meet.

Make hand-me-downs cool again in support of National Secondhand Wardrobe Day on August 25th. It’s important to dress for success at meetings. Sometimes our bodies fluctuate. We may pack on a few pounds or drop some inches and our closets need a bit of refresh. Women who are expecting a bundle of joy or gradually losing baby weight might not want to invest in costly clothing during each phase of their journey. Swapping offers the perfect solution.

Meeting professionals everywhere can further this movement by encouraging attendees to bring articles of clothing they no longer want to swap with fellow meeting goers. Unclaimed items can be donated to a local shelter or clothing drive.

One such example is the ObesityHelp National Conference, which has dedicated space for a clothing swap at their annual event. This is intended for attendees whose waistlines are rapidly shrinking following weightloss surgery.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Swapping is fun and good for the planet. Eco-stylist Nina Gbor hosts swap shops at Australian hotels throughout the year. “The reason we do these clothes swaps is not only to have fun and tszuj up our wardrobes. It’s basically to reduce clothing waste,” she told ABC Radio Canberra. “The fashion industry is the second most polluting industry after oil and gas and people are not aware of that.”

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that 85-percent of discarded textiles, weighing 13 million tons, wind up at U.S. landfills annually. Additionally, to manufacture just one cotton t-shirt, 2,700 liters of water is required. This is the same amount of H2O to keep an individual hydrated for 900 days!

In North America, Element Hotels is installing Element Exchange pop-up shops in their properties for guests and members of the community to trade clothing. Donation and up-cycling points can be found on-site for guests to continue paying it forward.

“Clothes are one of the most frequent items purposefully left behind in hotel rooms,” says Marlon Whyte, global brand leader of Element Hotels. “The Element Exchange helps to limit the huge environmental impact of fashion sustainability by giving guests and locals in our vibrant communities the option to exchange or recycle clothing and offset their carbon footprint.”

Responsible Dressing

Element’s Boston Seaport location partnered with up-cycling organization Ministry of Supply to provide underprivileged adults with outfits for job interviews and the office. Guests can participate in the organization’s 1 In, 1 Out initiative.

Following the success of their Take Off Your Clothes swap event in Montreal in 2007, The SWAP Team formed a non-profit group to tackle the issue of clothing waste. Since its inception, volunteer chapters opened in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, NYC, Boston, Winnipeg and Calgary. More than 52,000 articles of clothing have been swapped, 51,000-plus donated items have gone to charities and over 103,000 garments avoided landfills, saving over $1 million.