Companies using illegal clothing donation bins to make profit

Good samaritans who want to donate clothes should think twice before heading to their local street bin.
By Aileen Graef  |  July 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM
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NEW YORK, July 25 (UPI) -- Clothing donation bins are popping up around New York City, but officials have warned that charities are not receiving any of the contributions.

A growing number of clothing bins have appeared in the city lately, blocking sidewalks and serving as beacons for litter and graffiti. In addition to vandalism, official notices can be seen on the bins warning that they are not legitimate charitable drop-offs, but placed there by companies who sell the donations for profit.

A collection of companies -- mostly based in New Jersey -- empty the bins and sell the donated clothes in bulk to thrift shops overseas with profits going to nearly untraceable entities.

"They have become the bane of our existence," said New York City Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. "We have seen a significant uptick in the number of clothing bins placed illegally on public sidewalks. A dramatic increase."

New York isn't the only city facing the problem, the bins have been springing up on city streets across the country.

"We've had to respond to the proliferation of these bins, so now you'll see more Goodwill bins out there," Jim Gibbons, the president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International Inc., told the New York Times. "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."

In the meantime, bins tagged by the city are removed after 30 days, dismantled and recycled. It is recommended that those intending to donate clothing find other means.

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