Sunday, January 24, 2010

Donating Clothing? Beware For-Profit Drop Boxes

This article was borrowed from

Donating your unused clothing makes a lot of sense; you can help out a charity... while cleaning out your closet. You’ll even score a small tax deduction. But choose whom you give you clothes to carefully; for-profit companies are now setting up clothing drop boxes and then reselling your duds to consignment stores or textile recyclers.

Misleading clothing donation boxes
I learned about for-profit clothing drop boxes a couple weeks ago when my parents told me about a bright red donation dumpster they saw in a shopping center parking lot. When they red the fine print, they realized the drop box was not sponsored by Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or another charity, but a for-profit company that donated a tiny percentage of its profits to charitable causes. The practice is misleading at best, illegal at worst.

Clothing recycling boxes
While some companies solicit clothing donations under the guise of charity, others—like U’SAgain—are unashamed to be collecting your old clothes and making a buck.

Unscrupulous charities
Finally, there are even some non-profit organizations soliciting clothing donations that you may want to avoid. Planet Aid is one such company that has drop boxes in certain locations around the country and brags supporting a variety of causes in Africa. There are allegations, however, that Planet Aid, U’SAgain, and other clothing recyclers have links to criminal organizations.
Whether or not the group skirts the law, annual reports reveal that just 11 percent of Planet Aid’s income goes to charity. While non-profit organizations cost money to operate, it seems reasonable to question just how Planet Aid spends the other 89 percent.

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