What Really Happens to All Those Donations?

thrift store (1)

Ever wonder what really happens to all those clothes, household items and furniture you drop off at Goodwill or other thrift stores? The mystery is revealed in Adam Minter’s new book, Secondhand.

After going through the experience of clearing out his family home after his mother’s passing, Adam Minter, who has researched and written extensively about recycling, realized this topic of what happens to all our donated goods needed exploring. He spent time in different Goodwills, secondary recyclers, and with senior move managers to follow the trails from start to finish.  Fresh Air with Terry Gross had a wonderful interview with him talking about his research.

A few points from the interview:

  • Large heavy furniture isn’t very donatable
  • Clothes that can’t sell make their way to a secondary market for rags and furniture stuffing
  • Don’t buy inexpensive goods where avoidable, they don’t last and therefore aren’t high enough quality to re-sell
  • A lot of donations that don’t sell and don’t have a secondary market go to landfill

We can do our part for the environment by living with less. We can limit the outflow of our goods by buying quality items and keeping them until they actually wear out, not just until we tire of them. Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle!

Secondhand book

 

Fresh Air

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