Even the most ardent op shop fan would have to admit that to find the rare treasure, you have to sift through a lot of trash. But what happens to the merchandise op shops do not, or cannot, sell?
Darren Murphy said the Wollongong Lifeline store received literally tonnes of donations that could not be sold – clothes or shoes with small holes or defects, bags with broken straps, toys and other products loved and worn just a little too much for anyone else to buy them in store.
Mr Murphy said his store alone gave up to two tonnes of clothes, shoes, toys and more to organisations including SAP Impex, a Sydney-based company specialising in connecting op shops and their unwanted merchandise to people who need it most.
“We take the stuff which the op shops can’t sell locally, and send it to Third World countries, mostly in Africa,” said SAP Impex owner, Bhavik Kapadia.
“We take all the unwanted clothes. If a pair of shoes has a small hole, people in Australia won’t buy it, but it can still be valuable for a person in Africa.’’
Companies like SAP Impex give a small donation to the op shop and take their unwanted goods, bundling it all up and sending it to a variety of charities overseas.
Mr Kapadia said his company sent about 20 tonnes of clothes, shoes, toys and bags overseas each month, helping those in need while also diverting the unwanted goods from going into landfill.
So next time you drop clothes in a donation bin, just remember - your old jeans might see more of the world than you have.