You may have noticed a few new donation bins around the East Side. But you may not have looked closely at these green structures. Put out by the Greener Read Company, they ask people to put books, DVDs, video games and other items down the chute.
It seems that the green color and the name is meant to resonate with environmentally-concerned people. Other groups have similar bins, but if you look carefully, there is a difference: the Greener Read Company is a for-profit enterprise. Donors may not take tax deductions in the way one can for giving to registered nonprofit groups such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill.
According to a recent newspaper interview, this business venture often sells these items for profit on Amazon or other outlets, and is looking at starting a retail outlet of their own to make money. Your donations may not be helping charitable groups at all.
Their website emphasizes that they do recycle items that are damaged or can’t be sold, and they do donate some things to various places. The places that allow them to place bins on their property do get some monetary rewards and may not be aware that they are making profits off of donated material.