Charitable clothing donations can go far towards helping families in need. In fact, an estimated 80% of donated clothing in the United States is used by organizations for donation to the needy or for funding similar projects. In 2011, about 2 million tons of clothing and textiles were recycled or donated to charities across the country.
Unfortunately, some people in Tampa Bay, Florida, are taking advantage of donors? generosity. Fraudulent clothing donation bins have been popping up all around the area, generating profits for out-of-state companies and acting as dumping grounds for all sorts of garbage.
Residents are complaining that some of these ?clothing donation bins? are overflowing, since they are rarely emptied. Neighbors have also reported people dumping old mattresses and rotting furniture at the sites of the collection bins.
?They don?t seem to collect the things that you?re putting in there,? said Sal Ruggiero, Director of Tampa?s Neighborhood Enhancement Division, which is also responsible for city code enforcement. ?You can have mold issues, you can get a breeding ground for mosquitos. Just the smell alone could impact a neighborhood.?
Worse than the smell is the fact that these ?charity? bins don?t benefit a charity at all. The generic blue bins with the words ?Clothes and Shoes Donation Center? printed on them actually bring in a profit for a multi-million dollar company in Illinois called We Care Recycling. After doing some research, city inspectors found that the company does not maintain its website or answer the phone number listed on its bins.
Donated clothes are very valuable to people who can’t afford to always shop the latest department store fashions, but still need to look good at work, church, or job interviews. The average thrift store shopper purchases 10 pounds of previously used clothing each year, which generates a decent amount of cash. We Care Recycling is taking advantage of the generous people of Tampa Bay and consequently taking funds away from the people who need it most.
If you plan to donate clothes, make sure you know exactly where your donation is going. GreenDrop is a reputable charity organization that has been associated with the Military Order of the Purple Heart for over 55 years.