How to Keep Your Graduation Gown Out of the Landfill


At the end of every spring is graduation time. Schools all over the country will send their fledglings out into the world or onto their next degree. Students are typically required to purchase their own cap and gown, even though chances are they’ll be worn just once before getting tossed.

This year alone, U.S. high schools expect 3.6 million students to graduate. That’s a lot of caps and gowns to make room for in our landfills.

So how can you avoid buying a graduation gown that will end up in the trash? Here are some tips:

  • Ask if your school has a cap and gown rental program. If you can rent your graduation attire, you won’t have to find a way to get rid of it after the ceremony!
  • If you’ve already bought a new cap and gown, see if you can donate them to your school after graduation. If your school doesn’t have a rental program, encourage them to start one. It’s a great way to avoid unnecessary waste, as well as a way to relieve students from the financial responsibility.
  • Give your cap and gown to a younger friend or sibling, or hang onto it until the following spring, when people will be looking, and post it on a local sales app such as Craigslist, Freecycle, Letgo or OfferUp. You can also donate it to a local thrift store.
  • Try giving your graduation outfit to a daycare or preschool where kids could use it for playing dress-up, or a theater or drama club that could add it to their costume collection.