Chicago's parking lots are full of clothing bins. Illinois suburban parking lots are also sprinkled with brightly colored bins. Some companies are familiar. Others are not. But with the convenience of recycling bins comes other questions: Where are these clothes going? Are the companies for profit or nonprofit? Should the type of textile recycling company matter? Do the clothes end up where the company promises?
With nonprofit organizations, such as the Salvation Army, who have a reputation for helping to fund food distribution, disaster relief, rehabilitation centers, anti-human trafficking efforts and children's programs, their reputation is already stamped with over a century's worth of approval.
But should newer textile recycling companies, both for profit and nonprofit, also have the same opportunity to collaborate in the textile recycling industry with more established companies? Or, is the convenience of having a nearby clothing bin worth skipping the tax deductible slip and knowing the clothes have an opportunity for a second life?
In this one-on-one interview with John Aren, the overseer of nine Salvation Army thrift stores on the north side of Chicago, these questions are explored, as well as what it is that has helped the Salvation Army stay around for so long.
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