Smart bins make it easy to donate textiles

goodwill gobin
© Goodwill of San Francisco

Donating your used and no longer needed clothing is a no-brainer, but for people living in cities, especially those without cars, getting to donation spots with sacks of clothing or other textiles can be hard to manage. Goodwill of San Francisco wants to make that process as convenient as possible and they're debuting a new high-tech solution to get more people donating their used textiles.

The goBIN is a smart donation bin that has sensors that ping Goodwill when its full and time for pick-up, making sure the bin is always ready to accept clothing drop-offs. The bin also has a QR code that when scanned will send donors to an online donation tax form. Once they've filled it out, they're emailed a receipt.

The bins will be installed in apartment buildings around the city so that people won't have to go far to give their textiles new life.

“Convenience is the most important factor for people deciding what to do with the items they no longer need,” said SFGoodwill Director of Donations Leslie Bilbro. “Paradoxically this is why many textiles end up in landfill; historically, it’s just been easier to throw them away. Responding to today’s urban lifestyle, our goBINTM will help people do the right thing for the environment and for their fellow residents who need a second chance in life.”

Through a partnership with the city's rental property management trade association, Goodwill is starting to place them in buildings with 100 units or more this year.

“We’ll target putting a Goodwill goBINTM in every big apartment and condo building in the city within 5 years to make donating textiles an everyday convenience. Every shirt, shoe and purse slipped into a goBINTM will help us create job opportunities for the chronically unemployed,” said SFGoodwill CEO Maureen Sedonaen.

Goodwill plans on manufacturing the bins using as many local and recycled materials as possible. After the pilot phase in San Francisco, the goBINs may be manufactured for other areas around the country.

Smart bins make it easy to donate textiles
Goodwill of San Francisco is installing high-tech goBINs in apartment buildings in the city to make donating clothing and other items more convenient.

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