Rockland charity wants clothing recycler out of community

A charity in Clarence-Rockland, Ont., wants an Ottawa clothing recycler to remove its drop bins because they are diverting donations from their boxes.

A charity in Clarence-Rockland, Ont.,  wants an Ottawa clothing recycler to remove its drop bins because they are diverting donations from their boxes.

The Rockland Help Centre collects used clothing at its drop bins and sells it locally to raise money for the food bank, raising $25,000 a year.

Some people in Rockland are upset upset boxes from a clothing recycler called Ottawa Clothing Donation are taking donations away from legitimate charities. (CBC)

But chair Conrad Malcolm said that a few months ago, the boxes of a company called Ottawa Clothing Donation showed up in the community, and since then donations at his boxes have fallen 50 to 75 per cent.

"They will be collecting this clothing and taking it outside of Rockland and taking money out of our operations that we need to provide services to over 260 families in our area," said Malcolm.

Clothing resale a profitable industry

The export of clothing for resale overseas has become a profitable business in Canada, with Canadian exports of worn clothes valued at $174 million in 2010.

But many people who drop off clothing at donation boxes may not be aware of the difference between charity boxes and for-profit boxes, particularly since many for-profit boxes deliver some proceeds to charities.

Bernard Payer, a municipal councillor in Clarence-Rockland, said he intended to bring the matter to council Monday.

"If we can put a stop to it, we'll put a stop to it," said Payer.

Ottawa company promises to leave

The manager of Ottawa Clothing Donation would only identify himself as Nuno.

He said his company donates some of its profits to local charities, but wouldn't supply names or amounts.

He said he would move his eight bins from Rockland, but said it would take until the end of September.

"We don't make an astounding amount of money off of this.  We help a lot of people and provide a service to the community … I've agreed to move the bins … we'll have no bins in Rockland," he said.

The incident is similar to one in Ottawa a year ago, when Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley had several donation boxes from a for-profit company removed from city property.