What Not to Donate

Most of us know that donating gently-used, unwanted items to a local thrift store helps the store, the community, and those of us who like to shop in them!

What many folks aren’t aware of, however, is that tons of tons of donations are unsellable and not only cost the thrift stores thousands in hauling fees, but also, disturbingly, end up in landfills.


The Road to Hell


Before you take clothing to donate to a thrift store, inspect it first to ensure that it’s something you might actually buy again.

As reported in Boise, Idaho, although stores are “very thankful for the community’s donations, but worn and torn items, junk and trash are racking up $300,000 a year. That’s just to dump the trash in the landfill, and some are getting turned away.”

What to do with clothing that’s not wearable? Earth 911 reports that Americans throw away 68 pounds of clothes on average each year, and we only buy 10 pounds of recycled clothes annually.

I personally use old t-shirts for rags, but if you’ve got more stuff on your hands than you’ll ever need for housecleaning, instead of taking them to a thrift store, check out textile recycling programs in your area.  NYC has one example.

Larger items:


...out of the frying pan


Call your local thrift store first before hauling in things like stoves, mattresses, stereo or computer equipment to make sure that they take them as donations.  Many stores have nationwide policies that prevent them from taking certain items, and your good intentions cost the store thousands, and might pave the road to the dump.

The Delta Optimist reports on one thrift store, the Hospice Cottage Thrift Store in Tsawwassen, gets about three mattresses every week (with a $20 disposal fee for each), on top of having to pay close to $1,000 monthly to dispose of other garbage.

If the store can’t take the items off of your hands, they’ll most likely recommend a resource that will be glad to take the thing from you.  If not, do some research yourself and give the information to the thrift store to help out the next person.

In short, yes, thrift stores survive on your donations.  But do take an extra few minutes to do proper research to make sure your donations end up in the hands of people who can use them, and not in our ever-expanding landfills!

Over and out for now.
As always, thanks for being a TSC reader!
All best,
Nicole & the TSC Team


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