Why Your Charity Clothes Donation Could Leave Op Shops In Debt

Charities spending millions to dump “fast fashion” clothes

Think you’re doing your good deed for the day by bundling up all your crappy old clothes and taking them to the Salvos? Think again.

If your clothing is cheap and mass-produced, it may not be good for a second life. And rather than helping money, that could actually be eating into the charity’s cash flow.

Australian charities are spending $13 million sending about 60,000 tonnes of unusable donations to landfill every year.

"There is a phenomenal amount of stuff and a lot of that is garments [and] textiles," Omer Soker from the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) told the ABC.

"If it was all quality stuff, that would be one thing, but a lot of it is fast fashion. Fast fashion has no intrinsic value in the fibres; it's not designed to last.”

Australians are increasingly treating clothing as a disposable commodity. A study last year found that almost one in four Australians had thrown out clothes after just one wear.

Australians buy around 27 kilograms of new textiles each year – and discard around 23 kilograms, putting them just second to North Americans as the world’s largest consumers.

And two-thirds of those thrown away textiles are man-made synthetics and plastic fibres, which may never break down.

Mr Soker has a simple rule to work out whether your clothes are good for second-hand use.

"If you wouldn't lend it to a friend, or give it to a friend… don't donate it."

As if that wasn't bad enough, charities have also complained about getting soiled mattresses, broken appliances and even dirty nappies dumped on their doorsteps.

Come on folks. Just because it’s called a charity “bin” is no reason to fill it with rubbish.