Not all clothing donation bins are created with good intentions.
According to a July 9 Bustle article, many New Jersey-based companies have begun to place illegal clothing donation bins on sidewalks throughout the New York City area.
Rather than giving the donated clothes within to charities or the truly underprivileged, the companies sell these clothes to thrift stores or in bulk to overseas locations, earning profits as a result — “the proceeds going to for-profit entities that c giving the donated clothes within to charities or the truly underprivileged, the companies sell these clothes to thrift stores or in bulk to overseas locations, earning profits as a result — “the proceeds going to for-profit entities that can be impossible to trace, or even to contact,” the New York Times reports.
“They have become the bane of our existence,” Kathryn Garcia, New York City’s sanitation commissioner, told the New York Times. “We have seen a significant uptick in the number of clothing bins placed illegally on public sidewalks. A dramatic increase.”
According to the New York Times, city law deems bins on public sidewalks and streets to be illegal. Once an illegal bin has been reported and tagged by the city’s Sanitation Department, the owner has 30 days to remove it. In the fiscal year of 2014, an incredible 2,006 bins were tagged, with 132 being confiscated by the Sanitation Department.
If you wish to donate your old or ill-fitting clothes to the needy, your best bet is to place your donations in a designated Salvation Army or Goodwill donation bin. Goodwill in particular is planning to combat these illegal donation bins with more bins of their own, the New York Times reports.
“We’ve had to respond to the proliferation of these bins, so now you’ll see more Goodwill bins out there,” Jim Gibbons, president and chief executive of Goodwill Industries International Inc., said. “Hopefully the consumer will see the Goodwill brand and know it is trusted, and that the property owner is in partnership with us. But when a bin looks lonely and is in a place that makes you ask ‘What’s that doing there?’ — you should call that into question.”