So you’ve gotten ambitious and finally cleaned out every closet in the house. Old shirts, slacks and shoes whose main function for perhaps years has been to merely take up space in your home are now stacked at the back door.
Now what? Trash them? Not so fast … there’s a good 3 years worth of wear for that red polo shirt your husband has tired of, and the same goes for those jeans that just aren’t as skinny and cool as they used to be.
Others can use the clothing, from jackets to boots and more, right here in Richmond County.
If you want to be certain your clothing donation helps to clothe your less fortunate neighbors, or goes to help support local community service groups, here’s what you need to know: Stay away from the blue collection bins marked “Mission of Hope, Inc.” and the yellow bins are marked “Planet Aid.”
For two months the Daily Journal has been following the growing controversy over clothing collection bins around the county that ship all donations out of the area.
We warned before about this, when the blue bins started cropping up this spring, then the yellow bins began popping up too. Residents upset by the fact that the donations made to the bins don’t stay local have been working to raise awareness about the issue.
In a follow up story last week by reporter Kelli Easterling, Rockingham resident Susanne McInnis said that she’d located 23 clothing donation bins, and had visited all but two of the businesses where they are located.
“It is causing a great exodus of funds from an already poor county,” said McInnis. “It’s just used clothing to the people donating, but it’s gold to the companies selling it overseas.”
Clothing placed in those donation boxes does not go to local shelters or thrift stores. The global trade in second-hand clothing is a $1 billion dollar a year industry, according to a 2005 report by Oxfam International. The industry makes profits off of donations handed over to collection sites by well-intentioned donors.
We are encouraged that efforts to inform the community about the blue and yellow bins appear to be paying off.
In today’s paper you’ll see another follow up, detailing how two area business owners have taken action to get the bins removed from their property.
It took two weeks for the owner of Fashion Plus to get the yellow, Planet Aid, box near her store removed.
“I saw in the paper that these companies are making a lot of money and none of it stays here,” said Yong Suecho. “I called and told them to take it away.”
The Rockingham City Council briefly discussed the donation bins at a meeting earlier this week. City Manager Monty Crump said the city probably cannot outright ban the boxes through zoning, but the city is looking into ways it might regulate the donation boxes.
We’d like to see some control over placement of these bins — allow them only on commercially zoned properties as a special conditional use, requiring a filing fee and public hearing process.