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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB News) -- Be careful where you donate your used clothing if you care about where it will end up. That's the warning from some long time charitable organizations.
Some of them are concerned about the rapidly growing number of clothing collection bins throughout the metro Louisville area. "We have seen an increase in boxes over the past year and a half," says David Cobb of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky based in downtown Louisville. "And we have at the same time seen our donations go down here at Goodwill."
The boxes are mostly green and white. What you may not know is that most of them were placed here by out-of-town organizations.
"That is a trend that is troubling to us," adds Cobb, "because it takes valuable resources out of the community and away from local non-profits like us and St. Vincent dePaul and Wayside Christian Mission."
One of the green boxes WDRB News discovered was on the corner of First and St. Catherine Streets just south of downtown Louisville.
On the box there is printing that states it is owned by the Gaia Movement USA and says it is a tax exempt organization. And the printing says funds generated from the donations to the bin support community programs in the USA, Africa, and India. What it does not say is whether any of the donations will stay in the Louisville area.
Our attempts to reach the organization which its web site says is headquartered in Chicago by phone were unsuccessful. "What we know about those boxes across the nation," says Cobb, "is that the vast majority of them will ship those donations immediately out of town."
Cobb says the reason for the increase in the number of such bins in Louisville and in other cities is that there is a lot of money to be made in used clothing.
It is such a big problem that local government is getting involved. The Metro Council is considering legislation that would require the owners to get a permit for the bins and limit the number within each of the city's 26 council districts.
"We are very concerned about how many boxes will be in play," says Metro Councilman Rick Blackwell one of the co-sponsors of an ordinance now before the council, "and who is responsible for maintaining the bins and there is also a safety question with all the debris sometimes left around the bins."
Cobb says the local organizations just want people to know where their donations are going. "When we see boxes in the community without a recognizable charity, I think it should give everyone pause as to who these folks are and who am I giving to," says Cobb.