This Thanksgiving weekend, it is estimated that nearly 136 million Americans will be out shopping for the holidays. Between sale events happening for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (and Sunday), as well as Cyber Monday, this means a lot of people are buying shiny new stuff.
While this is great news for business and the retail economy, the implications of this widespread consumerism also means an upheaval of last year’s “old stuff” and unfortunately, a ton of used clothes, toys, and other goods potentially ending up in landfill.
Out with the Old
While most responsible Americans would agree that dumping their secondhand stuff is a wasteful practice, a surprisingly majority of those who opt to donate to places like Goodwill or The Salvation Army do not realize where their donated stuff actually goes. Hint: 97% of it is sold to third parties.
In some cases, donated clothes that can't be resold locally or to clothing recyclers may go to the landfill.
At WOVIN we believe that this matters because we have a civic responsibility as consumers not only to make wise purchasing decisions (i.e.: not supporting sweatshops and unfair labor practices), but also to be conscious about how we dispose of clothes and items at the end of their product life (where/how we make secondhand donations).
Less is More
Last week, in response to the misuse of domestic clothing donations and the threat of potential landfill waste, the Palo Alto Pulse announced a different kind of campaign called Purge Before You Splurge, a way for Bay Area residents to “clean out their closets and do some good.” In partnership with WOVIN, the Pulse asks shoppers to donate used clothes in addition to or instead of buying new ones.
So far, the response from the community has been positive. Since the campaign launched in Palo Alto ten days ago, 11 donation pickups have been scheduled, totaling 59 bags of donations.
“The idea is that holiday shoppers will think more intentionally about their purchases as well as how they discard or donate their used items,” says Darius Golkar, founder of WOVIN.
As part of the campaign, donors who give 10 bags or more are entered into a raffle for a $100 Patagonia gift certificate. Also, everyone who posts a photo of their donations receives a Palo Alto Pulse reusable “Chico” shopping bag.
“All donations made to WOVIN, including those made through the Purge Before You Splurge campaign, will also support our non-profit partner called Samahope,” says Darius. Samahope is an international non-profit organization that funds doctors in the developing world and is WOVIN’s non-profit partner until January 2016. Next year, WOVIN will partner with another non-profit called Mercy Beyond Borders.
Changing the Donation Game
Through WOVIN, making a thoughtful secondhand donation has never been easier. Scheduling takes less than one minute and WOVIN will pick up donations directly from the donor's home or workplace. Residents of Palo Alto and the greater Bay Area are encouraged to schedule a donation pickup in one click.
What to Donate
- School backpacks
- Sports uniforms
Note: Clothing in any condition is accepted (except wet or moldy items)
Once a pickup day is scheduled on WOVIN’s website, donated items should be bagged and labeled with “Purge Before You Splurge.” Photos of donated bags are shared on Twitter and Facebook, using the hashtag #purgebeforeyousplurge and tagging @wovin4good and @papulse. On pickup day, the WOVIN driver will text his/her estimated arrival time and send over a receipt. The best part? All items donated through WOVIN are 100% tax deductible.
Though Palo Alto Pulse’s #purgebeforeyousplurge campaign continues through December 18, donations to WOVIN are accepted year-round.
Many thanks to the Palo Alto Pulse for supporting WOVIN's mission and cause! Learn about how you can get involved with WOVIN's secondhand clothing movement here.