About Charity Recycling

Learn more about the size, scope and benevolence of this fascinating sector.
The Facts

In 12 months Australians donate more than 780,000 tonnes of clothing and goods to charity stores. Scroll down for more facts.....

Charity Recycling Facts

Fast facts – heaps of them!

  • Charitable recycling is the oldest, largest and most coordinated recycling/reuse cohort in Australia – it is the “mother” recycling industry.
  • There are close to 2,500 charity operated op shops across Australia.
  • More than 76,000* Australians volunteer their time to support charity op shops.
  • Gross national “over the counter” retail sales are greater than $500,000,000.
  • Donations of goods to charitable recyclers are made up of clothing, textiles and homewares. The latter can include the myriad of items found in our homes including kitchenware, furniture and indeed stuff from garages and sheds. Charitable recyclers benefit from up to 70% of donations.
  • Op Shops are a vital source of funding for the charities’ community support programs. They help tens of thousands of people in crisis and in need in our communities each year through the money they raise.
  • St Vincent de Paul Society has the most charity operated op shops in Australia – Salvos Stores have the largest retail footprint.
  • Over 1 million tonnes of goods are donated annually to charitable recyclers by way of shop donations, donations bins, home pickups and corporate donations.*
  • Close to 70% of donations are used by charities, sadly the remaining is often destined for landfill.*
  • Waste sent to landfill tends not to be clothing or textiles – but inappropriate donations which are mainly homewares, including broken and soiled indoor and outdoor furniture, toys, bicycles, white goods and unusables such as gas bottles, bbqs and textbooks. Mattresses continue to be a burden for charities across the country.
  • Mattresses continue to menace donation points with 79% of respondents to a NACRO survey advising that dumped mattresses are the greatest financial burden – NACRO Victoria member survey 2014.
  • Rest assured charities use more than 96% of donated clothing.
  • ABS data in 2016-17 showed Australian exports of “worn clothing and other worn textile articles” was 93,502,966 kilos. Direct exports from charities accounted for two thirds.
  • It is estimated that there is in excess of 10,000 donation bins located throughout Australian metropolitan suburbs and regional towns. Less than 65% or 6,500 are charity operated with around 35% commercially operated or 3500 donation bins.
  • Over 40 million transactions through charity operated op shops (one or more items per transaction) – equivalent to every Australian shopping and making a purchase at least twice a year at charity op shops.*
  • Clothing and textiles account for 48% of Op Shop sales. Homewares, bric-a-brac and books are 46% of sales and furniture, 6% of sales.*

Click here for Fast Facts.

Clean, sound furniture is welcomed by charities to pass on to people in need or to sell to raise funds for their community programs. But please call your nearest Charity Op Shop first to see whether they have room and/or can pick up.

For electrical or white goods check with your nearest Charity Op Shop to see whether it has the facility to accept your donation.

TVs and computers can be deposited at the National Television and Computer Recycling Scheme free drop-off point near you.

Mobile phone collection boxes are available in most Salvos Stores around the country.

Industrial rags can be made from clean white materials such as t-shirts, towels, shirts, flannelette shirts, pyjamas and sheets.

Commercial quantities from workplaces and businesses are also accepted by charities, but please enquire in advance.

If you doubt the acceptability of your goods, ask yourself, would you give this item to a friend in need?

Never, ever donate rubbish….or coat hangers, gas bottles, barbeques or dirty mattresses!

How to help

More than 76,000 Australians volunteer their time to support charity op shops

Charities pay tip fees

Charities are paying tip fees for 250,000 tonnes of dumped rubbish

Join the NACRO Email Newsletter

The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations Inc. (NACRO) is the peak organisation that represents Australia’s charities and charity op shops.