FAQ

Why is recycling clothes important?
Every year Americans produce about 14 million tons of unwanted textiles from their homes and businesses. What happens to it all? Only 15% (2.3 million tons) gets recycled, while the rest goes into the trash. Textiles rotting in landfills release methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change even more so than carbon dioxide (CO2). Recycling your used clothing diverts clothes from landfilling and reduces the need to manufacture new clothes, which cuts down on the environmental impact of producing textiles.

Believe it or not, just about all of the textiles cluttering your closet, basement, or garage can be repurposed or reused in some way. So help Planet Aid recycle them rather than letting them end up in the trash!

Why drop off clothes in a yellow box?
Planet Aid places its yellow bins in convenient, nearby locations so you don't have to go out of your way to recycle. When you drop off a bag of clothing you help the environment by saving resources and preventing waste. You also help people in need because your donation will be used to fight poverty in some of the poorest places on the planet.

What can I put in the yellow boxes?
Planet Aid accepts clothing, shoes, and other textiles (for example, bedding, towels, and curtains). This means that there is no need to separate items based on their condition. Even items that are stained, torn, or frayed can be recycled, so drop off your worn-out items, too! The only articles of clothing we cannot accept are those that are wet or moldy.

Can my old socks or underwear be recycled?
Yes, we can recycle old socks and underwear as long as they are clean and dry when they are dropped in the box.

Do I have to wash my clothes before donating?
Yes, please launder all items before dropping them in a box.

Are the boxes for recycling or for donating clothes?
Both! Dropping off clothing in a Planet Aid bin is not unlike tossing an aluminum can into a recycling bin. People don't think that they are "donating" an aluminum can (mainly because aluminum recyclers are for-profit entities), but the idea is the same: you are getting rid of something that no longer has value to you and giving it to someone who can restore (or find) value in the item. The difference is that the clothing you donate/recycle to Planet Aid helps us raise funds to support our charitable mission.

Why do you sell the clothing instead of giving it away?
People are often surprised to some people to learn that charities such as Planet Aid sell used clothing wholesale on the worldwide used clothing market. The vast majority of this clothing is shipped to developing countries where it supplies a vibrant local used-clothing economy, providing jobs and offering an inexpensive source of clothing for the community. It is important to remember that Americans produce 14 million tons of unwanted textiles every year, and there are not enough people in the U.S. who need or want such an immense quantity of discards, which is why so much (nearly 13 million tons) ends up in landfills. All that said, Planet Aid does support local domestic organizations with donations, helping out when there is an acute need.

Read more about this in our blog post, “Why Sell Used Clothing?”

What do you do with the money from selling the clothes?
We use the money from selling clothes to fund sustainable development projects all over the world, and to cover the cost of our recycling collection program. You can see the break down of our expenses in our latest annual report.

Do you donate clothes and shoes to local organizations, too?
Yes! While the vast majority of the clothes from our boxes are shipped overseas where the demand is greater, we do donate to many local causes as well. Here are just some of the ways Planet Aid supports local communities.

Where can I find a Planet Aid box?
Use our Bin Finder to locate the one nearest you.

How can I get a box in my area?
If Planet Aid is servicing your state but there are no boxes nearby, then you can petition local businesses, schools, apartment complexes, or other institutions to host a bin. If Planet Aid is not currently servicing your area, then you can request a bin by filling out our online form.

Can you pick up a donation from my house?
If you have an exceptionally large amount of unwanted textiles (for example, you have inherited an entire wardrobe that you want to donate), then we can discuss the possibility of a pick-up. Contact your local Planet Aid.

I want to drop off clothes but the box is full, what do I do?
We schedule our boxes pick-ups regularly to avoid overflow, but on occasion a sudden and unexpected large amount of donations can quickly fill a bin to capacity. Please contact your local Planet Aid immediately when this happens—we will dispatch someone to the scene to remedy the matter!

How many boxes do you collect from?
The number is constantly changing as we add new sites, but there are approximately 19,000 boxes in 20 states plus Washington, DC.

How often do the boxes get emptied?
We schedule pickups according to how much clothing a box receives. On average we service the boxes weekly.

I mistakenly put an heirloom or other valuable in a box. What do I do?
We try our best to help in these very rare situations, but it is often very difficult to locate individual items given the sheer volume of recyclables that we collect daily, the regular pickups from our bins, and the fact that we do not track individual items from a particular bin. Should you accidentally discard something please immediately contact your local Planet Aid.

What happens to materials that are recycled?
There are lots of different ways your used clothes and shoes can be recycled. Materials from old items could become pillow stuffing, carpet padding, wiping cloths, and other products! Click here to read more.

Can I put books or toys in the box?
No. Our boxes are for clothes, shoes, and other textiles, but we do occasionally receive other items. Instead of putting those items in a yellow box, please check this list of other great nonprofits who will gladly accept them!

Can I donate money instead of clothing?
Yes! You can make a monetary donation of any size towards our Child Aid, Teacher Training, or Farmers’ Club projects. Click here to learn how your gift impacts people in developing countries all over the world!

Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes, you can print out a tax-deductible receipt by following this link.

What sort of projects do you support?
We support a diverse number of sustainable development projects in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Click below to learn more about them:

Where are the development projects located?
Planet Aid currently funds sustainable development projects in Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Guinea Bissau, India, Laos, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. We also support other charitable organizations in the United States, which you can read about on our local pages.

How much money from the clothes collection goes towards the projects?
Planet Aid was able to provide over $12 million in international aid in 2015 thanks to the clothing dropped off in yellow boxes.

How can I help?
There are lots of simple ways you can help: donating or recycling your clothes with us, making an online monetary donation, or just spreading the word about textile recycling!
Click here for the full list of ways you can get involved.

How long has Planet Aid been around?
Planet Aid was founded in 1997 in the Boston area. We have since grown to cover 23 states!

Where in the United States is the company located?
We are currently servicing Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, and California.

Why is your slogan, “For the Environment, For People?”
Planet Aid is committed to protecting the earth and empowering the poorest of the poor. Through our recycling efforts, we are helping to divert materials from landfills and diminishing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Our charitable giving and aid projects help people in need here at home and all around the world.

How much money goes to charity and how much is used for fundraising?
Our expenses are broken down into three basic categories: program services, fundraising and development, and general and administrative. The latter two categories only make up 15% of Planet Aid’s total budget, meaning 85% of our monetary resources go towards our recycling program (62%) and charitable causes (38%). In 2015, Planet Aid gave more than $7 million in funding to charitable causes.

You can see the full break down in our Annual Report.

Has Planet Aid undergone review or investigation by a credible outside authority? 
Planet Aid has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance and is registered with the U.S. Agency for International Development as a Private Voluntary Organization.  For more information, please see Planet Aid's annual report and IRS 990.

Are your tax forms available publicly?
Yes, you can view our IRS 990 form here.

What sort of organizations do you work with?
We work with a number of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), corporations, nonprofits, local and national governments, schools, businesses, and more. Click here to learn more.

Are you hiring?
You can explore our career opportunities here.

ASK US A QUESTION!

Didn’t see your question here? Send us an email at info@planetaid.org or call your local Planet Aid!