In an effort to reinforce transparency within the clothing and textile recycling industry, the board of directors of the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) has formally approved a Donation Drop Box Operator Code of Conduct. The Code requires member companies to fully and completely inform the public by stating directly on their collection bins that they are a for-profit company. The policy also requires members to obtain permission prior to placing a bin on private property, to regularly maintain the bins, and to respond to issues regarding their bins within 24 hours.
According to the policy, member companies working with charitable organizations must provide contact information for the charity on the bin and must refrain from using deceptive labels or logos that may confuse the public regarding their affiliation with charitable efforts.
“This Code represents an industry best practice we hope will be adopted by everyone in the industry, not just SMART members. We are proud of our association with charities such as Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul and the Salvation Army,” says Jackie King, executive director of SMART. “We want to protect and defend those relationships as best we can. Unfortunately there are some in the industry who take advantage of people’s charitable donations by using deceptive practices when labeling collection bins. Our members feel a strong sense of responsibility to donors who so graciously give.”
SMART encourages the public to be aware of and confirm the recipient of their clothing donations. The association recommends using third-party review services such as www.charitynavigator.org or www.charitywatch.org to assess the services of a potential charity recipient. According to King, a SMART member company found to have violated any of the provisions of the Code of Conduct may face disciplinary action, including the revocation of member benefits and possible expulsion from the association.