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SMART Approves First-ever Code of Conduct for Clothing Donation Bins


International Policy Strongly Advocates Transparency in Drop Box Collection Practices

Baltimore, Maryland (February 6, 2012) – 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 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 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. Review SMART’s Donation Drop Box Operator Code of Conduct - www.SMARTasn.org

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.”

According to Goodwill, the sale of donated items not suitable for their retail stores to clothing and textile recycling companies generates more than $100 million annually. A representative of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries of Boston, MA says the clothing recyclers provide a critical source of revenue by purchasing the unsold charitable donations.

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. SMART also encourages people to contact their local State Attorney General’s office to determine if the named recipient charity or the private sector collector is registered and compliant with state and local regulations. Ms. King says 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. She continues saying the company also risks formal expulsion from the association.


Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles (SMART) is an international nonprofit trade association that strengthens the economic opportunities of its diverse membership by promoting the interdependence of our industry segments and providing a common forum for networking, education and trade. Since 1932, SMART has been at the forefront of recycling. SMART members use and convert recycled and secondary materials from used clothing, commercial laundries and non-woven, off spec material, new mill ends and paper from around the world. SMART member companies create thousands of jobs worldwide. SMART members prove each day that you can make money by being socially responsible.

For additional information on SMART, visit the association’s website at www.SMARTasn.org.  The following link will take you directly to informational videos on textile recycling http://www.smartasn.org/about/videos.cfm.

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