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Aus Charity Op Shops Not Just for the Needy

25 August 2015 at 11:44 am
Lina Caneva
Contrary to popular belief, op shops are visited by a broad cross section of society and not just for those in need.

Lina Caneva | 25 August 2015 at 11:44 am


Aus Charity Op Shops Not Just for the Needy
25 August 2015 at 11:44 am

Contrary to popular belief, op shops are visited by a broad cross section of society and not just for those in need.

As part of National Op Shop Week new research shows that just 28 per cent of op shoppers earn less than $35,000 per year.

National Op Shop Week Logo


“A surprising 30 per cent earn more than $75,000 per year. People who earn between $35,000 and $75,000 made up another 31 per cent of the op shoppers,” Kate Dear from Red Cross said.

Clothing and accessories are bought by 63 per cent of op shoppers, followed by household items, 53 per cent, and books and magazines, 29 per cent.

“The thrill of the hunt also attracts 30 per cent of the op shoppers,” Dear said.

“It’s surprising how many people come to op shops not just for utilitarian items, but to rummage for treasures. Many valuable and interesting items are donated to op shops every day, and finding them can be a real attraction for people.


“Many of the items donated to charity op shops are given free to families in need. The remaining items are sold to raise funds for community programs. However in op shops these items are far cheaper than if they were bought new.

“Everybody knows that you can get good things at op shops for a great price, with 66 per cent of respondents saying they buy from charity op shops to save money. But this survey has shown that recognition of our community welfare work is quite widespread too.”

Jon Dee, founder of National Op Shop Week and Managing Director of the charity DoSomething which commissioned the research, said people who support charity op shops are doing the right thing by the environment as well as people in need.

Do Something was established by Planet Ark founders Jon Dee and Pat Cash in association with Tina Jackson, former Executive Director of the National Trust of Australia.

“69 per cent of people surveyed are aware that op shops provide community welfare programs, but the survey also showed that 41 per cent of respondents shop at op shops because they support recycling,” Dee said.

“Australia’s charity op shops and their 70,000 volunteers play a key role in delivering community services. The public’s support of charity op shops is critical to the longevity of the work of the Not for Profits.”

Dee said many people were unaware that many of the clothes donated by the public are given for free to people and families in need and not all of the products are sold in the ops shops.

“It’s important to make sure that people know where the money goes to help others,” he said.

The cost of wastage through dumped unusable clothing and goods was highlighted as an issue for both the sector and the public.

“The Salvos are spending $6 million a year on the cost of disposing of rubbish to landfill from dumped goods. That’s $6 million that could be going towards helping people in need,” Dee said.

Dee said more work needs to be done by the sector behind the scenes to address wastage cost issues including the tipping charges by councils that vary from state to state.

Executive Officer, St Vincent de Paul Society Parramatta Central Council, Susan Goldie said she hopes Op Shop Week will raise public awareness about the importance of donating good quality items.

“By donating to and shopping at Vinnies and other op shops, customers are supporting people in the local community who are doing it tough,” Goldie said.

“The rule of thumb is to not donate anything you wouldn’t be happy to give to a friend.”

Red Cross, Salvos Stores and Vinnies are just some of the leading charity op shops involved in this year’s National Op Shop Week.

In 2012 alone, over 300,000 tonnes of clothing and household goods were donated via charity op shops and collection bins. Each year, around two billion donated items are processed and sorted by charity recyclers.

Check out Op Shop Week and find a charity op shop HERE

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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