ARC and Salvation Army over Gaia

The Gaia clothing bins may be easy to use, but their environmental impact has been questioned

The seasons are changing, and that means thousands of Chicoans are transitioning their wardrobes—out with the old, in with the new (or at least out with the cold, in with the warm). As the holiday season approaches, it’s always nice to find time to give—whether it’s of your time or of your material goods. Used clothing drives are popping up and they’re a great way to recycle old threads. But while they may all tout a strong message of goodness, be thoughtful when choosing where to donate.

For example, the green Gaia-movement bins located outside several local businesses claim they take your used clothing, resell it and use the profits to help the environment. We’re not so sure. Numerous news agencies, including the Chicago Tribune (the bin idea started in Chicago), have bored deep holes in Gaia’s parent company, Tvind’s, actual actions, which include very little in the way of environmental protections. In fact, the money has been shown to go to a charity called The Teachers Group, and according to the Web site Tvind Alert (, one of its senior leaders just went to prison for fraud in January.

Some other ideas for donating your clothing: The ARC of Butte County, which helps local people with developmental disabilities while operating a thrift store (i.e., reused, inexpensive clothing). And there’s always the Salvation Army, which does numerous good deeds in our community and beyond while also operating thrift stores.

We all want to do some good this holiday season, so take the time to research the charity you give to before donating to an unworthy cause.