Donating items to op-shops
According to Omer Soker, CEO of The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO), the message from Australia’s 2,500 charity-operated op-shops is always: “Thank you for your donations.” However, “the question consumers might want to ask themselves is, ‘Does [my] donation benefit or cost the charity?”
Australian op-shops receive close to one million tonnes of charitable goods every year, but around 60,000 tonnes are not suitable for “reuse, resale, or recycling,” Soker says, and end up in landfill. This equates to around $13 million a year in waste management costs for op-shops.
When you’re considering donating an item, Soker says the general rule is to ask yourself, “Would [I] give this to a friend?” Things like dirty mattresses, unwearable clothing, broken electrical items, and damaged furniture are particular burdens on Australian op-shops.
“As long as it’s good quality, we’re happy to accept it.”
He adds that you should also aim to donate items in-person. “When well-intentioned people leave donations outside or on the floor by a donation bin, invariably the weather gets to it or people rifle through and take all the good bits.”