Clothing donation bins can be located across Michigan. These bins can be convenient in getting rid of unwanted clothing. But not all of these bins support charity. And even bins that bear a charity’s name may not support the charity in the way you think. So before donating your clothes into one of these bins, it’s worth learning how these bins are operated.

Many clothing donation bins are operated by for-profit recycling companies. Often, the recycling company agrees to do all the work of maintaining the bin. This usually entails regularly emptying the bin, discarding unusable clothing, and selling the remaining clothing on a per pound basis; in exchange, the charity receives a portion of the proceeds from the clothes. In other instances, a charity may simply license the use of its name to a bin operator in exchange for a cash payment. In still other instances, a charity may actually receive the clothing placed in the bin, perhaps for donation directly to the poor or for resale in the charity’s thrift store.