Donating those dust-riddled items to a local thrift store is a great way to clear up some space, or simply do a good deed. Unfortunately, there are quite a few items that thrift stores just can’t accept, or that create an inconvenience for the employees.
“The amount of donated goods I see getting tossed in the compactor still astounds me,” Value Village recycler Nguyen said. “At least half of the items we get never make it to the shelves. They either end up in a baler, a trailer, or the compactor.”
Piles of clothing that can’t be sold end up in the baler. Old electronics that are still usable often get tossed in the e-waste pile.
“Donors donate for a reason,” Nguyen said. “Most of them feel like their items still hold value, and can be reused by others. It’s a shame a lot of their items won’t ever make it to shelves”
“Mattresses, potentially dangerous items, baby items, and carpets are all items we don’t take at our store,” Value Village CDC ambassador Chelsea Barry said.
There’s a chance that a mattress donated to a thrift store could be infested with bed bugs, causing those pesky insects to spread both around the store, and around the home of the unlucky person who bought it. Carpets are another item not accepted at many thrift stores, mostly due to issues with cleanliness.
“At our store, we can only take baby clothes and toys. Cribs and baby seats are a no-go because of germs and safety reasons,” Value Village supervisor Angie Levi said.
Baby-related items might not be safe for infants to use, especially if there are any choking-related hazards, or if the item contains sharp edges. On top of that, most baby items that come through can be quite unsanitary.
If a weapon or hazardous material is donated, it must be disposed of properly. This usually means having to call an organization that handles the disposal of dangerous items, which can cost the store extra money. It also causes an inconvenience too for the employees, as the weapon or dangerous material must be supervised until it can be disposed of properly.
For donors looking to donate items that can’t be sold at most thrift stores, a simple search on the internet can show places that will happily take those items. Most big thrift stores will offer a recycling guide pamphlet containing addresses and phone numbers for places that accept waste and hazardous materials, old electronics, infant equipment, textile recycling, and much more.
Donating something that might hold sentimental value can be difficult. Making sure that special item actually gets some use can put those anxious thoughts to rest, so doing a background search on different thrift stores can be beneficial in the long run.