Collection Bins: Charities vs. Private Collectors

Over the past year we have seen a lot of discussion in the media concerning the perceived effect of private collection donation bins in communities with local charities that also collect used cloth.  The articles raised questions about the issue of private collectors diverting donations and funding from charities. As an agent in this market, we believe that open and fair markets and access to goods is important. The fact remains, private collectors are also diverting hundreds of thousands of pounds of textile waste from landfills. Ultimately, if bin operators act in a fair, open and legal framework, it is consumers who should decide to whom they wish to donate.

As a broker of used products, we recognize the benefits of donation bins maintained by charities and private collectors.  We work with not-for-profits and private collectors who are affiliated with charitable organizations that use a variety of collection methods. We strongly support the SMART bin operator code of conduct and encourage all of our suppliers and customers to become SMART members and adhere to the policy.

The Smart Code of conduct for Bin Operators states for members to “Refrain from using deceptive or ambiguous labels/logos on bins that imply donations will go to support a particular cause if there is no underlying affiliation with a charitable organization and clearly disclose the for profit nature of your business on your bins.”  Click here for the full code of conduct.

With this element in place, donors can make informed choices as to what type of charity or company they wish to support with their donations. Public education surrounding these bins is paramount and charities have to be increasingly creative when marketing to the public for clothing donations.

We have also noticed a trend of charities and private collectors creating partnerships with the municipal governments to reduce waste and increase donations.

Check out what they are doing in ArizonaSan Francisco and New York City.

Will this model be the future of textile recycling? Or, is this the beginning of the end to a long relationship between textile recycling and charity?

To read the articles click on the links below:

Smart Calls for Bin Code of Conduct to be industry standard

Bins raise questions

Rescue mission in Syracuse fights for much needed funding

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