Responsible donations are an incredible way to promote reuse and support your local community

In 12 months, Australians donate more than 780,000 tonnes of clothing and goods to charity and social enterprise shops.

Charitable reuse and recycling enterprises are always grateful for the generosity of Australians.

At Charitable Recycling Australia, we can absolutely vouch for this because we see the incredible power of donations to not only cut down waste, but generate revenue for charity and social enterprise organisations.

On average, this translates into $550 million towards their charitable mission and social welfare programs, every year!

Whether you’re dropping your goods into a standalone donation bin or visiting a charity or social enterprise shop, they will typically accept a wide-range of pre-loved goods.

This includes clothing, shoes, accessories, jewellery, bags, books, kitchenware, bed linen and towels, games, music, films, paintings, sports equipment and musical instruments.

But it’s essential to consider the quality of your donation, before you pass it on. While your intentions may be wonderful, donating goods that are broken, unsafe, unusable or damaged can be a burden for many charity and social enterprise retailers, because they can’t sell them on and have to dispose of them as waste.

This includes incurring a cost for the item’s removal and ultimately means they have to use revenue that would otherwise go towards their charitable mission.

A great way to determine whether an item is worthy of donation is by asking yourself Would I give this to a friend or buy this myself? If you can answer yes, it’s going to be well-received!

Here’s what you need to know to donate your items to a charitable reuse and recycling enterprise:

If you are donating to a charity or social enterprise shop: 

  • Visit during operating hours and avoid leaving items outside the shop after-hours. They may get stolen or weather-damaged.
  • If you’re donating clothing, please ensure they are clean, undamaged, folded and packaged in a sturdy bag. Don’t forget to check the pockets!
  • Items that come in pairs, like shoes, gloves, socks, suits should be kept together. Shoe laces can be tied together; gloves and socks can be stuffed inside each other and matching belts securely fastened.
  • Before you donate furniture, electrical/white goods, call your nearest charity and social enterprise shop to see if they have the facility to store your donation.
  • TVs and computers can be deposited at the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme free drop-off point near you and mobile phones can be deposited at most Salvation Army stores around the country.
  • Commercial-quantity donations from businesses are accepted, but please enquire in advance.
  • Please note that items can be refused based on many reasons including the condition/saleability of the goods; availability of space, transport and/or lifting equipment, and OH&S and other relevant regulations.

If you are using a donation bin:

  • Be sure to check that the donation bin is for a charitable purpose. Less than 65% of Australia’s 10, 000 donation bins are charitable, so it’s important to check first so your donation can count!
  • As above, make sure your donations are clean, undamaged and appropriately packaged.
  • Place your donation inside the bin – not outside the bin, where it will attract scavenging.
  • If any of your donations do not fit in the bin please drop-off at an op-shop during opening hours or call your preferred charity to arrange for pick-up.

If you are using a collection service:

  • Some charities provide home collection service for larger items or estates. Please plan ahead and book your collection at least two weeks in advance.
  • Please note that items can be refused based on many reasons including the condition/saleability of the goods; availability of space, transport and/or lifting equipment, and OH&S and other relevant regulations.

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The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations Limited is a company limited by guarantee, operating under ASIC and trading as Charitable Recycling Australia.
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