Back to school shopping can include supplies, new clothes, backpacks and even technology. All of that can get quite expensive, but it’s possible to get discounts by getting rid of some of your old stuff.

A recent poll by Ebates estimates Canadian parents will spend an average of $183 per child on back-to-school gear. Tack on some activity fees and a hot lunch program and it adds up.

One of the smartest ways to save, however, may be hiding in your own closet. It's called garment recycling.

Dozens of retailers are now offering new ways to exchange your old clothing, accessories, cosmetics containers and old tech for big discounts.

H&M was the first global retailer to offer garment collecting in all of its stores. Just bring in your bag of donated clothes, drop it in the bin and receive a voucher for five dollars off your next purchase.

The company's goal is to collect more than 900 tonnes of clothing this year.

Getting rid of an old pair of jeans? Bring them to Levi's for 10 per cent off any item.

Eileen Fisher does a clothing drive each year and gives you $5 for each item of the brand's clothing you bring in.

South of the border, Kenneth Cole will give you 20 per cent off a new pair of shoes, when you bring in an old pair.

“Parents are very stressed when it comes to back to school shopping. What's nice about these recycle programs with all of these big brands is it's a nice way to do something good and also save money at the same time,” said Sara Skirboll of

It can be environmentally friendly too. The average North American throws out about 37 kilograms of clothes each year.

Many of these retailers partner with companies like I:CO, which recycles the threads and reuses the fabric in other ways.

"I would recommend that parents be really mindful of what they're actually bringing in. A few retailers will certainly be donating your clothes to those in need," explained Skirboll.

Beyond apparel, Apple offers store credit when you bring in an old device. Best Buy has a trade in program as well.

As for cosmetics, six empty containers gets you a free lipstick at MAC and five empty cosmetics pots equals a free face mask from Lush.

That all adds up to more money for you.

You may want to give the store a call ahead of time to confirm it participates in the recycling program.