Though the drop-off boxes may look similar at first glance, only some are operated by charities. Other boxes are placed by commercial companies that may — or may not — donate some money to charity. And some of the charities involved don't meet the baseline standards of the Better Business Bureau or the Chicago-based American Institute of Philanthropy.Some of these non-profits will even take... and use even the most motley of your donations:
During a day's drive around the Chicago area, the Tribune spotted about 10 types of boxes that ran the gamut from collecting the clothes almost entirely to benefit charity (Salvation Army) to collecting the clothes purely for profit (USAgain).
By government estimates, Americans throw 85 percent of their unwanted textiles in the trash each year. That may be, in part, because of a widespread perception that charities want only those items that can be resold in their thrift shops. While these are the most valuable donations, other castoffs can still make millions for charities on the secondary materials market, which includes selling used clothes in developing countries and recycling them for industrial uses.See? You can feel good about even your flimsiest, ripped up, worn out our torn cast-offs.
So the Salvation Army's Maj. Mark Anderson stresses that he doesn't mind when people donate ripped jeans, stained shirts and coats with broken zippers.
"We want to receive any and all articles because, if we can't sell it in one of our stores, then we can sell it to what they call the 'rag market,'" Anderson said. "They can repurpose those textiles for anything from wiping rags or materials for new textiles to even as an additive to asphalt. (That revenue) is a big deal for us."
One of the oldest trades in the world, textile recycling today represents a nearly $1 billion business, according to the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles association (SMART), an industry trade group. Eric Stubin, president and CEO of Trans-America Textile Recycling Inc. in the New York City area, said many businesses work closely with charities to recycle clothes that can't be sold in domestic thrift stores. According to Stubin, used textiles unfit for resale in the U.S. can fetch up to 35 cents a pound.
25 manners every child should know by age 9? I've met adults who haven't learned half of them.
After reading this article, it's a wonder that anything other plain filtered water is good for you.