Inside charity clothing bins
Every Tuesday morning at St Vinnies in Wellington, Rangi Jury swings open the clothing bins, pops his knees and head inside and unhooks the Santa sacks.
There’s no telling what’s buried deep inside, every week it’s a lucky dip. Today is no different.
‘‘Did someone say we had two bags of rubbish this morning?’’ asks Jury’s colleague, Sarah Ford.
In all fairness it was recycling, but two green bags filled with household junk – paper scraps, used cans and plastic bits were ‘‘donated’’ next to the bins.
‘‘I don’t think people realise that we have to pay for our rubbish,’’ Ford says.
‘‘It’s been better in recent months, with people donating rubbish. Not as bad as it was in the summer.’’
People who have done renovations in their house have been known to use the bins as a dumping ground for leftovers, Jury says.
‘‘Offcuts of timber, sawdust and everything you can imagine. No body parts,’’ he says with a grin.
Store supervisor Mike East found $40 in a shirt pocket just the other day, which was a rather nice donation.
Once the sacks are loose, Jury drags them onto a forklift, where they’re delivered to the upstairs sorting area, where East and several volunteers weed out the gems from the junk.
The room is dotted with boxes of preloved teddy bears and stacks of printed pillow cases which await their next home. They sit next to half-pairs of shoes and faded board shorts, which await a trip to the tip.
About 10 per cent of what arrives in the charity bins is too stained, ripped, or faded to sell, so ends up as rags.
The rags are sent to a company, which pays the charity store by volume, so everything is used.
Clothing is sorted onto racks upstairs where store managers from across the city pick out what they’d like.
It helps if store managers chose what goes to their store, Ford says.
‘‘Because of the different areas - like the Aro Valley shop has more of a student-y vintage sort of vibe, so they pick out the things that would work in their area.’’
Jury then loads up the van with the chosen loot and runs it out to stores, where the clothing is priced and left to the mercy of bargain hunters across the city.
Sarah Ford with the ‘‘Santa’s sacks’’ the come out of clothing bins.