Illustration for article titled That Clothing Donation Bin Down the Block May Not Be What It Seems

One man’s trash is another man’s overseas profit at the European version of Buffalo Exchange. In New York, shady companies are placing “donation receptacles” around the city, claiming to share the gains with the needy; the items are actually being sold in bulk overseas or ending up in thrift stores. Not cool, bro.


According to the New York Times, New Jersey is home base for many of these companies like Viltex or Narciso Recycling who are illegally dumping bins around town and the NYC authorities hate it.

“They have become the bane of our existence,” Kathryn Garcia, the city’s sanitation commissioner, said. “We have seen a significant uptick in the number of clothing bins placed illegally on public sidewalks. A dramatic increase.”


Here’s the racket: a dodgy company leaves their bin illegally on someone’s sidewalk, say in front of a lovely community garden. The owner of the garden has 30 days to complain to the City and if the bin’s owner doesn’t claim it, the sanitation department picks up the bin and recycles it. Usually, the “recycling” company picks up the unwanted bin and moves it a block or so away, annoying some other unsuspecting citizen with old clothes and piles of old smelly shoes.

This practice is so prevalent that the shady bins are confusing well-meaning Goodwill customers who are actively trying to donate their gently worn household items to the needy. The long-standing charity organization had moved away from collection bins because they are a bit of a mess and instructed folks to drop off their wares at a store but all these faux charity bins have put Goodwill back on the street.

“We’ve had to respond to the proliferation of these bins, so now you’ll see more Goodwill bins out there,” he said. “Hopefully the consumer will see the Goodwill brand and know it is trusted, and that the property owner is in partnership with us. But when a bin looks lonely and is in a place that makes you ask ‘What’s that doing there?’ — you should call that into question.”

Make sure that old tube top from 2003 goes where it's needed, ladies.

Alex Hinds/Shutterstock.


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