Why you should sack off donations to letterbox charities
When the lazy slackarses can be bothered to brave the weather, I probably get two or three plastic sacks pushed through my letterbox every week. Working independently of one another, these charities that want my family's second hand clothes fail to realise we don't have an endless stream of clothing we no longer wear, and so their bags are used instead to clean out the cat's litter try.
Avid Bitterwallet reader David suffers the same problem, receiving several pleas and plastic bags from numerous charities every month. The labelling from the latest two looks like this:
In both cases, it isn't the charities in charge of the collections. That's left to private companies; in the first example, SOS Clothes Limited is orchestrating the collections, while in the second it's an outfit called BMJ Limited. Then you notice how much revenue your bags of clothes are generating for the charities:
£50 per tonne sounds suspiciously low, reckons David, and in fact it is. According to the Children's Society, the same amount of clothing would make between £500 and £800 in net profit in a charity shop, while the international price for good quality second-hand clothes is up to £1,000 per tonne. The reason these bag-pushing charities have become so prevalent is because the price for second-hand textiles has exploded in the past few years - it's more profitable for manufacturers to recycle clothes than produce them from new.
Hence these private companies have cropped up to sell your clothes to textiles manufacturers, throwing a few quid at a heartfelt cause and creaming off the profit along the way. In the case of SOS Clothes Limited, you'll find plenty of online chatter about this outfit; their website states there is an "internal investigation is in progress due to unlicensed and illegal door to door clothing collections".
Of course this isn't a new problem - there have been and still are dozens of scam companies that don't even bother making a donation to charity. That's not to say you say you should distrust every charity asking for a sack of crap from the back of the wardrobe, but as easy as it is to dump a bag on your doostep and let somebody else deal with it, you'll do far more good for charities if you drop it off at one of their three dozen shops on the high street.