May 25, 2010; Source: New York Times | Wanted: a charitable organization willing to commit to making weekly pickups over the next 10 years of discarded clothing, linens, shoes, clean rags and other apparel throughout New York City. Must be willing to place a minimum of 50 textile recycling bins in each borough and be able to collect up to 500 tons of material a month, with the expectation that the amount might grow over time.
While not a real ad, a search is on in New York for a nonprofit group willing to take part in a new program the city plans to launch to reduce some of the $300 million it spends each year on waste disposal by encouraging residents to donate used clothing rather than throw it away. According to the New York Times it’s not a lack of desire to donate, but the challenges of lugging “heavy bags up subway stairs to a thrift shop or a collection site or renting a car to make the drop-off.”
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While the program is meant to save the city money, it could also represent a lucrative source of revenue to the winning nonprofit. “It could easily double the amount of donations we get, immediately,” said Keith Mancuso, director of integrated marketing at Housing Works, a group that serves homeless people with H.I.V. and AIDS.” Mancuso says his group currently raises more than $13 million a year from selling used clothing in 11 thrift stores and online.
The city’s Department of Sanitation expects to award the clothing collection and hauling contract later this month. To make it easier for residents to donate clothing, whichever organization wins the job will likely make direct pickups from apartment buildings and also put collection bins on sidewalks, outdoor spots, houses of worship, and police stations among others place.—Bruce Trachtenberg