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AIBU to think that charity shops shouldnt throw out stock?

(28 Posts)
soontobeburns Thu 13-Dec-12 22:12:35

So I volunteer in a charity shop and I'm amazed atwwhat goes to landfill.

If a book or CD has been on the shelved for a month and not sold it ends up in the bin.

If an item is not 100% it goes in the bin (e.g. missing button)

If a toy doesn't have the battery cover in the bin.

If a sofa or table etc has a dirty mark even if it can be removed by cleaning it, it won't be sold and will be sent to the tip.

So AIBU to think that some hospitals or homeless charities etc should have the option of being given them and not have them in landfill?

I have myself rescued from the bin a few books, a Yankee candle holder (nothing wrong with it!) , teddies etc.

It seems such a waste and everyone could be used by someone!! Especially since people donated thinking it would help the charity.

YesIamYourSisterInLaw Thu 13-Dec-12 22:15:27

YADNBU i never knew this

soontobeburns Thu 13-Dec-12 22:18:49

It's awful :-( I just want to scoop up everything and donate it because most is still useable.
Thing is it's otherwise a brilliant shop and for a really good charity.

iago Thu 13-Dec-12 22:23:53

My local charity shop sends clothes unfit for selling for 'rags' - ie recycling. Books can be re-cycled for paper. It seems that some charity shops are trying to position themselves in a posh market

Iheartpasties Thu 13-Dec-12 22:26:01

I think its a shame if something could still be used. I know lots of old book get chucked, but some crafty types could probably do something wonderful with and old book! and actually lots of stuff can be used as craft supplies.

ImperialSantaKnickers Thu 13-Dec-12 22:26:27

Where does the bin go? The charity shop I support puts anything that's not fit to go on the rails in bags that are taken by a textile merchant, who pays per kilo.
Sadly there appears to be no market for video tapes, but books that haven't been sold after a certain time go in a reduced bin, and then to recycling. In all honesty, who's going to buy The Da Vinci Code or Tis or Angela's Ashes?

There isn't a market for damaged toys, and an electrical toy with a missing battery cover could be seen as dangerous. The shop has responsibilty as a retailer under the Sale of Goods Act.

Furniture etc that we can't sell in the shop goes to a very good local charity that refurbishes it if necessary and then supplies it to people on low incomes.

soontobeburns Thu 13-Dec-12 22:30:45

Bins go to landfill just. Books to go in these bins so do cds, toys, unsold jewellery etc

I know there are some laws for reselling but can these not be given to someone who would appreciate them?

notcitrus Thu 13-Dec-12 23:10:11

If there is someone who appreciates such stuff, they'll be in touch. Thing is, there usually isn't... or not anyone willing to go to the effort of collecting stuff. My local charity shops are short on space so stuff that won't sell, bearing in mind the competition from pound shops etc, has to be got rid of so they have room to process stuff that may sell.

The ragman and book pulpers pay about £20/tonne and collect, but those logo mugs and broken furniture mostly do end up as landfill. I hate crappy chipboard furniture that bends in a couple years and never gets reused.

brainonastick Thu 13-Dec-12 23:23:07

Yabu. Charity shops are there to make money for the charity, not to make the optimal use out of all the tat they are given. They are not recycling shops. It's a shame, but just because they are charities doesn't mean they aren't as materialistic as every other business.

cumfy Fri 14-Dec-12 00:16:07

I also wonder if people would continue giving to charity shops if they knew:

1. Average charity shop only makes 10% "profit" on sales.
2. How much gets creamed by the staff.

Bit of a gravy train really.

cumfy Fri 14-Dec-12 00:18:41

I would say they are recycling shops.

BertieBotts Germany Fri 14-Dec-12 00:22:58

But if nothing got thrown away they'd be swamped with stock that they couldn't sell - would you want to buy a broken toy?

It might seem like small quantities of things being thrown out that wouldn't make a difference but I bet they know from experience what will sell and what will sit in the shop for months, if they kept it all they'd end up with such a backlog that they wouldn't be able to cope. I would think that the timings etc are carefully calculated based on previous experience so that they don't end up swamped, it's just clearing clutter really.

CointreauVersial Fri 14-Dec-12 00:32:37

Cumfy - I don't really care how much gets "creamed" by the staff. Our local BHF shop is staffed mostly by elderly ladies who always have time for a friendly chat with the "disadvantaged" folk who seem to hang around the shop all day, they work very hard and probably get paid very little (if at all). I doubt many people volunteer for charity work for the freebies.

The sad fact is that second-hand stuff has very little value in this consumer society, particularly if it is less than perfect.

If more people saw the value in second hand stuff, then the situation might be different. Personally, I love a charity shop bargain.

BackforGood Fri 14-Dec-12 00:35:08

I'd say your experience is unusual. The norm around here is for stained / bobbly / torn / otherwise unsaleable clothes and material goes to 'the rag man' I've asked several times in all sorts of different charity shops over the years if I should throw out unsaleable stuff or if they want it, and they always say they'll take it as it adds to the weight - as other say, this is bought by the kilo. I also know a fw people who work in charity shops who say that's right, they are not just humouring me in some way.

Broken toys - fair enough - they can't sell them.
Books also have a limited appeal... it's better to keep refreshing the stock that does sell and getting rid of stuff that hasn't sold after a while. As others have said, it's actually quite hard to give stuff away consistently - people are just too fussy, or are unable to collect.

Sokmonsta Fri 14-Dec-12 00:37:36

I thought they sent stuff on to another branch? At least that's what one I used to volunteer in told us. Each week a different coloured tag was used so we knew what was next to go for stock rotation. Perhaps I was just naive.

jinglebellyalltheway Fri 14-Dec-12 00:38:14

wow! the one I worked in sent clothes/soft toys they couldn't sell to scrap/recycling/clothes banks
and my nearest ones sells lots of stuff to scrap per weight and according to a volunteer there makes as much money from that as from shop sales

cumfy I think most people know that there are lots of overheads and a relatively small amt goes to charity, but charity shops have the added bonus of facilitating reuse/recycling, and they are cheap (sometimes hmm)

I never got to "cream" anything when I worked in one, but if people do... its still reusing/recycleing

ChippingInLovesChristmasLights Fri 14-Dec-12 00:40:45

It is an independent or a large chain? If it's a large chain could you please PM me with the name as I'd like to avoid donating to it in the future.

It is disgraceful - there are 'fabric weight' companies around, books could be given to rest homes, schools, shelters etc - schools, once again - lots could be given to schools for art projects, fundraising etc.

jinglebellyalltheway Fri 14-Dec-12 00:41:16

it also got a lot of fur which they wouldn't sell in the shop because of the public image of the charity, but had a vintage dealer who would collect it so all the fur was saved upstairs for that

piprabbit Fri 14-Dec-12 00:44:44

So if I have some crappy stuff that I choose to dump on the charity shop instead of in my bin, are the charity shop obliged to keep it forever and ever until they manage to sell it even if it cluttering up the place and taking up shelf space that could be used to sell something people actually want?

OP, as a volunteer, you are in an ideal position to challenge the wastage that you see. Either the recycling policy exists, but is being ignored, in which case you could help raise all the staffs' awareness, or there is no policy, in which case you can help develop one and identify companies who would be prepared to collect your 'rubbish' and recycle it for you. Don't just moan - make some changes.

confuddledDOTcom Fri 14-Dec-12 00:55:09

It's not about letting it hang around cluttering. There are other options - fabric sold to the rag man, paper in the recycling (might not get money for it but at least it's not in the bin), jewellery/ metal there are plenty that will take it (that's why the iron man does so well, it's not a public service) very little actually needs to go in the bin.

MumofWombat Fri 14-Dec-12 00:59:16

I used to work for a charity, and tbh it was shocking some of the things that would be donated. Charity shops shouldn't be used just because someone can't be bothered to get rid of broken things appropriately. I only donate items in a good condition, I wouldn't buy something broken so why should I expect either others to do so or for the shop to go to the expense of dealing with the crap.
As has been mentioned above, they do have regulations they have to comply with.
If you have broken stuff you want to donate, don't. If you really feel the items still have worth have a boot fair/garage sale/jumble sale and donate the profits. (This is what some of the volunteers did at the charity i was involved with, using the stock that couldnt go into the shops) I don't believe a charity should have to be grateful for disposing of others rubbish.

BertieBotts Germany Fri 14-Dec-12 01:19:06

Yes but confuddled all of that takes time, not only to organise but to sort through everything individually. I can see why some don't bother, or only choose to pass on certain items to third parties. Charity shops barely make a profit anyway, any extra chasing up they have to do eats into that. Maybe some have found it's simply not worth it.

expatinscotland Fri 14-Dec-12 01:30:26

I think a lot of people use charity shops as an alternative to a skip, though. They feel bad about binning stuff that really can't be sold on and so 'donate' it.

confuddledDOTcom Fri 14-Dec-12 01:41:08

My grandparents work at a charity shop, not a chain, they sort stuff out and as it's not a chain it's all done in the shop by the volunteers. From what they tell us they make a lot of money from fabric and metal recycling. How much harder is it to throw books into a paper bin rather than the waste bin?

ThisIsMummyPig Fri 14-Dec-12 01:41:22

I have to say that I have got very picky about the charity shops I donate to, as my Mum and my Aunty both work in shops which bin stuff after a fortnight - this is not rubbish which can't be sold, but just stuff that there was no buyer for in those two weeks.

It makes me really sad to think that may have given perfectly good stuff which has gone to rags, just because there was nobody looking that wore the right size clothes, or wanted things in that colour - but they might have gone in the following day when it had gone to rags.

I also feel a bit annoyed about the constant stock appeals, when I know full well they are throwing good stuff in the bin.

(British Heart Foundation prime example)

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