Uber and Goodwill join forces to help you donate clothes

The makers of the ride-hailing mobile app offered to help people in more than than 50 cities to deliver their unwanted clothing to Goodwill stores across the country.

Mary Altaffer/FILE/AP
FILE PHOTO - In this March 18, photo, the Uber app displays cars available to make a pickup in downtown Manhattan on a smart phone, in New York. Uber teamed up with Goodwill Industries to arrange free pickup of unused clothes for Uber users' spring cleaning efforts. Drivers would pick up clothes free of charge and take them to the nearest Goodwill.

Uber and Goodwill want to help Americans with their spring cleaning.

Users of the mobile application in more than fifty US cities opened the application to find a new "GIVE" option, available only on Saturday, May 2. Customers could use the feature to summon an SUV to pick up bagged clothes, which they took to the nearest Goodwill, free of charge.

In addition to major US cities where Uber has a large presence, the spring cleaning initiative was in cities such as Detroit, Dallas, Denver, and Miami, among others (full list here). The nationwide promotion between Uber and Goodwill was built off a previous successful spring cleaning initiative in New York last year, and another clothing drive in Boston and San Francisco last fall, according to Uber press releases.

“Both Uber and Goodwill strive to make a meaningful impact on local communities, and we are thrilled to once again team up with Goodwill to make donating fast and easy for Uber users,” David Plouffe, Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy at Uber, said in a Goodwill press release. “Those who participate in this campaign are not only checking something off their to-do list, but supporting Goodwill and its mission to strengthen communities by providing job placement and training for people in need.”

Most unwanted clothing in the United States gets thrown in the trash. According to The Atlantic, Americans buy five times as much clothing as they did in 1980, and textile trash grew by 40 percent from 1999 to 2009. Americans recycle or donate only 15 percent of clothing, and in turn 10.5 million tons of textiles a year end up in landfills. This makes textiles one of the least recyclable materials that are reusable, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Less than 16 percent of the more than 14 million tons of textile waste was recycled in 2014. 

“This innovative and exciting partnership demonstrates Uber’s commitment to local communities on a national and international scale,” Kim Zimmer, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of global development of Goodwill Industries International, said in the same press release. “This collaboration has made Spring cleaning and donating an easy task, while ensuring that their clothing is not only diverted from landfills, but also goes toward supporting efforts to put people back to work.”

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