GUEST POST: Clothing Donation Bins: A Valued Convenience in Our Communities

Posted at October 6, 2015 | By : | Categories : Green Living | 1 Comment

Kristin Greene is the Vice President of Federal & Local Affairs at The Molera Alvarez Group in Phoenix, AZ. She is also a government affairs consultant for ATRS. Here’s her perspective on clothing donation bins and the good they do in our communities:

Valerie & Mayor Jackson donatingCity of Lithonia Mayor Deborah A. Jackson donating in an ATRS Clothing & Shoe Recycler located at the municipal recycling center.

Why do city officials dislike clothing donation bins? Why do they think these bins attract homelessness or cause blight? Worst of all, why are they creating burdensome regulations that make it difficult to divert your unwanted items from landfill?

One word: Misunderstanding. Cities seem to think donation bins attract dumping, don’t follow city rules, are just duping the public for profit and are a nuisance to the community. Wow! How can one little 5×5 bin do all that? It can’t. Let’s take a look at the facts:

*Donation bins do not attract dumping any more than outdoor garbage cans or recycling receptacles. No one can control human behavior, but donation bin operators – especially those bound by the S.M.A.R.T. Code of Conduct – do their best to keep recycling areas clean. After all, it is their reputation at stake!

*Legitimate donation bin operators follow all city rules. They are valued advisors in their communities and often work with local legislatures to assure standards are upheld. Bin operators that do not follow the rules do not belong in the community!

*Legitimate donation bin operators prominently display contact information, including a phone number and web address, on their signage. Simply look up the company and the benefiting charity online to verify their authenticity.

*What about the “for-profit” status of these bin operators? Well, every other category of recycling is run entirely in the private sector by for-profit businesses. Textile recycling companies specifically are often hired to help a charity that does not have the resources to fundraise in a worthwhile capacity. They provide millions of dollars each year to local non-profit organizations. These companies are part of the charitable world, not in competition with it.

Unfortunately, cities misunderstand what clothing recyclers do. They misunderstand the value these bins bring to the community. So what is that value, you ask?

One word: Convenience. Clothing donation bins are an easy, convenient drop off location for all your unwanted textiles, from clothing & shoes to bedding, toys and more. There’s no denying it: We all want convenience. We are an instant-messaging, fast food, DVR society. Donation bins extend highly-coveted convenience with enormous benefits – letting citizens help both philanthropic organizations and the environment, all with one stop!

*Donation bins make it easy & convenient to support local charities without coughing up cash. When you clean out your closet and drop off unwanted clothing, shoes & textiles, every item creates funding for the charity advertised on each donation bin’s sign. Every dollar stays local to support the organization’s programs & services!

*Donation bins are a convenient way to recycle items that your city does not accept. Items dropped off at the collection bins will be recycled, reused and repurposed to increase diversion rates and create a cleaner, greener community.

So how do we spread the word? We must all work together, from community members who utilize donation bins to support their favorite charity to those who are just looking for a way to recycle items the city does not accept. Let’s educate cities on the need for legitimate, community-partnered donation bins.

Call your local city officials and let them know how important the donation bins are to your community. They only hear bad news, it’s time to share some good!

Help keep our communities clean & green by knowing where to throw! Place only accepted textile items in ATRS Clothing & Shoe Recyclers. Remember, if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t belong! Check out hashtag #KnowWhereToThrow on social media for the scoop.