USAgain bins cause a stir with local donation centers - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

USAgain bins cause a stir with local donation centers

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

For the last ten months large green and white clothing collection bins have been popping up in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area.

USAgain is a for profit organization with the goal to get as much clothing out of the landfills as possible.

Donations centers like Goodwill Industries say having the USAgain bins in the area makes it hard for them to meet their mission. 

David Boyd, president/CEO of Goodwill industries of Northeast Iowa says their stores serve two purposes.

"One is our primary fundraising mechanism. It helps support our mission. The stores are also the area where our consumers work. They're learning about work. They're handling the material, they're hanging it, they're pricing it. They're doing all those things that we would do in a retail store," said Boyd.

USAgain's headquarters are in the Chicago area, with Iowa's regional office out of Minnesota.

They say their goal is to divert as much clothing from the landfills as possible.

"USEPA estimates that 85% of all unwanted clothing in America, or approximately 11 tons, each year gets thrown in the trash. We all need to do a better job of recycling and reusing clothing," said Scott Burnham, company spokesperson.

Burnham says all the clothes that go in bins, then get purchased by whole sale buyers and thrift store chains.

 But, Boyd says they've never been approached by the company to purchase any items. He says fortunately the community has been very generous.

 "What concerns me is that in rural areas where there are a lot of those boxes and we don't necessarily have a presence there that they are collecting material that we aren't getting," said Boyd.

 35 bins have been put up in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area in the last ten months. Since then, in that area 48 thousand pounds of clothing has been collected.

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