Oh No! I Donated the Wrong Bag of Clothes!

Posted on June 5th, 2013


It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get most items back. Here is why, and how to better your chances at recovery of mistakenly donated items.

Charities are very grateful and depend on the generosity of their donors. Charities want you to feel good about every interaction you have with them. Most will go the extra mile to help recover a mistakenly donated item, but unfortunately that may not always be possible.

Often charities will hire a textile recycler or independent contractor to collect their bins. That driver may also collect bins for other charities or companies in the area. Even if the driver is exclusive to the one organization, by the time he collects a full route, there is a cube truck full of donations. That truck load is then transferred onto a transport truck with the donations from other colleagues in different regions. That tractor trailer is then brought to a grader who processes loads from various organizations throughout the province. Once a load is registered, it all gets mixed in together as they are sorted by type/quality not by region or contributor.

To say ‘needle in a haystack’ would be an understatement.

Your best chances at recovery:

Call the number on the bin and leave a detailed message. Every minute counts when you consider our recycler collects our bins daily, so don’t just say “my name is Jane, call me back” Here’s the ideal message:
“I accidentally donated the wrong bag and I really need it. It’s in Toronto at a Joe’s Tire on Keel and Wilson. I dropped it at 9pm on June 3. It’s a yellow No Frills bag with a red t-shirt at the top of the bag. My number is 555-555-5555.”

We take alert calls very seriously. If you leave that message on our machine, the recording is sent by email to someone who dispatches it to the appropriate driver directly. He gets an alert to the message.

If he hasn’t collected the bin yet, there is a good chance he can find the bag just in time. We have sometimes received these calls with minutes to spare. The sooner you report it, the more likely it is you will get it back!
Please remember that these bins are collected daily. If it’s not reported within 8-12 hrs from the time it was dropped, its highly unlikely it will be retrieved and even then, it can’t be guaranteed. The only consolation is that if it is lost, at least it’s lost to a good charity, and will be cherished by someone less fortunate.

Donate Info

It’s really easy to get involved in our Clothing Donation Program, and it’s at no cost to you! All we need is your permission to place a clothing bin on your property. Our clothing collection partner ensures the bins are kept spotlessly clean and are collected regularly. They assume all costs and responsibility for bin maintenance and each bin is fully insured.

To order a bin, click here.

Thank you for your support!

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Infographic - Why Recycle?

CCSF Infographic - Why Recycle