Where to Donate Clothing in Poor Condition
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Where to Donate Clothing in Poor Condition
I'm in the process of cleaning out my kids' closets, and have a
pile of clothes that aren't in good enough shape to give away
to Goodwill, etc. (clothes with rips in the knees, stains,
etc.) Is there any place to drop them off -- perhaps someplace
that shreds them or otherwise re-uses them? I know places like
Goodwill and Salvation Army don't want clothes in poor
condition, but it seems so wasteful to literally toss these in
I think I've posted this before, but - I put all kinds of scrap
fabric including torn clothing, single socks, trimmings from
sewing, etc. in a bag, clearly label it ''Textile Scrap'', tie
it up and give to Goodwill. I believe they add it to their
rejects which get sold to make carpet underlayment, etc.
I wanted to correct the recent response that indicated that the
Goodwill takes clothing scraps-- this is not the case. I have recently
learned that the Goodwill only wants clothes in saleable condition and
that they actually have to pay someone to dispose of rags. I confirmed
this with the folks who run the Stop Waste website (though they have
not updated their guide yet). So please, don't donate these things to
I just gave a lot of clothing that was unwearable because of stains or
holes to the Oakland Zoo education center. They use it for animal
enrichment activities. Don't forget also that each member of your
family should have at least one set of warm-weather and one set of
cold-weather clothes with your earthquake or other emergency supply
box. You may want to keep some of the otherwise unwearable clothing
for that purpose.
My son is outgrowing his clothes (duh). Anyway, as he gets older I'm
finding that the clothes are increasingly stained, ripped, torn, and
otherwise in pretty bad shape by the time he outgrows them. What can I
say? He's active. Anyway, it doesn't make sense to donate the clothes
to a shelter or other charitable organization. At the same time, I
feel bad about dumping the clothes in a landfill. Does anyone know of
a place where I can recycle the clothes? Thanks!
I highly recommend selling them to Grove Street Kids in Berkeley. It
is located on the corner of MLK and Virginia. She either pays cash
(40% of retail value) or trades (60% of retail value) for kids
clothing. It is a fantastic store: clean, organized, and well-priced.
Plus, she often has a $1 rack! She also offers a frequent buyer
discount program: spend $100, get 15% off.
Goodwill accepts ''textile scrap'', which I believe is used to make
carpet padding. I usually put it into a big paper shopping bag, tie up
the handle and label it ''textile scrap'' in big bold letters. I'll
never know if they actually recycle it or toss it in the landfill, but
it's the best I can find.
I think you can leave torn (but not badly stained) clothing and textile scraps
in the green Gaia boxes you see around town. You can read more about their
program at http://www.cctg.org/TextPage.asp?MenuItemID=42&SubMenuItemID=121.
They also take clothing in good condition, too, of course.
You can also find a couple options if you search for ''Clothing
Scraps/Remnants'' on stopwaste.org.
Before taking your old children's clothing to the green Gaia bins
around town, you might want to check out these articles:
You can google Campus California TG and find more articles about
them. The organization has been investigated for ''fiscal
improprieties,'' is described as a ''nonreligious cult,'' and --
contrary to what CCTG claims -- gives almost none of the clothing
revenue to anyone in developing countries.
Choosing Charities Carefully
Look into freecycling.org. The organization is community based. One basic
rule: everything you post must be for free.
I live in Alameda and have successfully donated/recycled used carpet padding,
my kids' outgrown clothes etc. I highly recommend this work. I'm sure Berkeley
I too have been searching for a way to recycle clothing that is
no longer wearable (stained, ripped etc).
Alas, the advice that was posted here about Goodwill recycling
non-wearable clothing and other scrap fabric is incorrect,
although it also appears on Alameda county's stopwaste.org web
site and was perpetuated in a SF Chronicle article about
recycling that appeared during the past year. I checked with
Goodwill both last year and again after the BPN posting - they
confirmed that non-wearable clothing goes into the garbage.
The stopwaste.org people I spoke to last year were not able to
offer any viable suggestions. Two other organizations I called
(East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use, and a similar organization
in SF) adamantly said they do not take clothing, even though the
scrap fabric could be used in art projects etc. The SF
organization said they don't need to take scrap fabric because
they get enough fabric in bolt form.
The suggestions posted on BPN about the Gaia boxes may be a
possibility. Gaia apparently sells bundles of the clothing they
receive, so there is a possibility that the non-wearable stuff
gets reclaimed and recycled as fiber. There is some controversy
about Gaia's charitable legitimacy. see
or look them up on Google.
What do people do with old clothing that is torn, stained or just worn
out? Is there anywhere to donate it where the clothes can be used for the
material? I'd rather not throw it in the trash and I have plenty of old
T-shirts to use for cleaning. Thanks.
Check this out. I have seen their big green boxes around.
I think I have also seen a box somewhere on MKL in Berkeley near the
Tuesday Farmers Market.
We have a million old decripit t-shirts. They are not good
enough to give to charity and I don't need that many dust rags.
Any suggestions on what to do with them?
Try your local animal shelter. We donate old towel, cotton
clothing with stain, and other clothing that cannot be reuse, to
the animal shelter in Fremont. They need material to make
bedding for the animal or to dry them after a bath.
I'm wondering if there's any place/business that RECYCLES old clothes. I'm getting ready to clear out lots of closets, and I have tons of ''chore'' clothes (torn and stained, mostly cotton-knit stuff like t-shirts, underwear and socks). These are not something I would give to Goodwill, but I don't want to put them in the gargage either. (And I already have a huge stockpile of rags!)
You could always dump them off in the 'free' box at People's
Park. (I believe it still exists) That's the 'reuse' in the
recycle trilogy! :)
Where does one donate used-but-useable
clothing? Someone pointed out that we should NOT donate
worn/torn clothes to Goodwill, etc, but what to do with these
items? For example, Gymboree leggings w/ a hole in the knee (and
no, I won't get around to patching it... I SHOULD, but I admit
that I just don't have the time to mend). Anyone have
suggestions about what to do w/ used-but-usable kids clothes?
Seems like such a waste to make scraps out of them... Thanks,
If you know anyone on the Tiny Tots Diaper Service, their
drivers pick up donations of old clothes, or better ones, toys,
etc. from the porch of the family. Put the items in a sturdy
garbage bag, label visibly: ''You Are Special''. These items go
to help families who are desperate. You can send pants with a
hole in the knee. Since the Salvation Army on Solano Ave
closed, I was glad to find out about this one.
ECAP (Emeryville Community Action Program)is a wonderful
program that gives away cloths to homeless and poor families.
They are completely non-profit and get very little funding.
They are located on San Pablo near a freeway overpass in
Emeryville. I don't know the address, but there is a ''Doug's
BBQ'' next store that is more noticable. We take everything
except junk there!
I've finally faced up to the fact that I'm just never going to get
around to patching those faded old jeans, mending the hole in that
ragged sweater, stitching that torn seam, etc. In other words, I'm
trying to get past that depression-era mentality that tells me to
never get rid of *anything* that I *might* be able to use someday.
So, my question is: is there anyplace to donate stuff that's *not*
in usable condition, or should I just (horrors!) throw it in the
trash? I've actually also got non-clothing, non-essential items that
don't necessarily need repair, but are just old and extremely faded
(e.g. drapes)...same question: is there anyplace that would want these?
i recommend dropping off the not-so-good clothing (and blankets and towels)
to People's Park. Drive down Haste right before you get to Telegraph. There
is a big brown "dumpster" there. Actually, if you pull over, folks will come over to your car and take things from you without having to park, get out, etc. and, they really appreciate your donations.
Try calling the Ecology Center in Berkeley or Urban Ore (also in
Berkeley). Both have been great resources for where to get rid of
stuff I had questions about.
When I lived in San Jose they would accept textiles for recycling,
but I don't know where they went from there. Bedding and towels,
if washable, might be welcome at the ASPCA or an animal hospital for
use in animal cages. Something like drapes might be welcome in a
theatre for costume/set materials.
Garments with holes worn through are most probematic. I finally cut
up a bunch of old shirts into a) rags to use in cleaning/crafts b) colars
and so forth that just had to be discarded. My advice is to forgive urself
and let it go. Now if I just could follow that advice...
A lot of textiles donated to places like goodwill, salvation army
will end up as scrap, whihc they sell. They don't require "useable"
You might want to have a small garage sale for starters. I know a lot of
women who quilt who have no problem buying torn jeans as it's the fabric
they want, not the clothes. All 100% cottons are great for this. I've seen
these women go to garage sales just to buy up cottons for cutting up. They
get some unusual quilts that way, make for more homey looking scrap ones. Or see if there isn't some quilting guild around you that wants the clothes. As far as the other items, try good will anyway. If they are just old, but still usable, someone may want them.
I wanted to chime in on the donation thing, as I work in recycling. Please
do not donated torn or stained clothing to the charity thrifts (Goodwill,
Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul.) They only want items in saleable
condition. While it is true that they do recycle or scrap out unsaleable
items, it is very expensive for them to handle clothes that are not saleable
and it costs them money.
this page was last updated: Dec 16, 2008
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