Thrift Shop Recycling
Farnham says that Ann Arbor PTO Thrift, whose sales support enrichment and extracurricular programs for Ann Arbor Public Schools students, used to combine its unsalable items with St. Vincent de Paul's for a weekly pickup, but recently began having its own pickups. "Almost everybody [in Ann Arbor] uses them," says Farnham. "It's a wonderful way to find a home for our usable but unsalable donations." City Recyclers originally picked up only clothing, linens, and shoes, but it is now also willing to take pots and pans, stuffed animals, and other items. She says they're paid per pound, receiving anywhere from a nickel (for hard plastic) to 50c (for shoes)--a total of $19,150 in 2012, or 2 percent of the shop's total sales income. She believes that these dollars will increase, thanks to the addition of a full-time employee whose sole task will be sorting donations.
Gray says that the Kiwanis Thrift Sale sent over 63,193 pounds of shoes, clothing, and textiles to City Recycling in its most recent fiscal year and received a little over $9,000.
The Salvation Army's megastore on South State is the giant among local nonprofit thrifts. Jacqulynn Idzior, director of operations for the Salvation Army Southeast Michigan Adult Rehabilitation Center in Detroit, says it processes all of its donated goods in house, sending locally unsalable items to the organization's Romulus warehouse. Shoes that don't sell in Ann Arbor are given a second chance at the Army's store on Michigan Avenue in Detroit, where everything is priced at a dollar.