300% more clothes donations

Quality check: Tzu Chi Merits Society volunteers inspecting donated clothes at their centre in Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: With Chinese New Year round the corner, people have started clearing their old, unused clothes, furniture and even electrical appliances while spring cleaning their homes to usher in the Year of the Dragon.

Tzu Chi Merits Society commissioner Datuk Khoo Boo Leong said there is a 300% increase in clothes donations so far this year.

“With Chinese New Year approaching, more people are dropping off their household items as they clean their homes.

“The volume of donation to our organisation has increased by about 50% with most of it being used clothes but they are not in the best of condition,” he said in an interview.

Khoo said they would sell the clothes to their vendors.

“Recyclable items will be stored a maximum of three days at a recycling centre before it is sent off, so it does not take up too much space,” he said.

He said as for household appliances, televisions seem to be the most donated item.

“Around Chinese New Year, we receive an average of four television sets per week.

“Most of them can still be used but are slightly defective.

“The useable ones will be donated to welfare homes while the rest go to ewaste,” he said.

Vendor Teoh Ah Hai, 64, said he was swamped with calls to collect electrical appliances as many people have started spring cleaning.

“Be it a fridge, washing machine, rice cooker, oven, computer, radio and even fans, now seems to be the time to discard used goods. It is always the same, as a month before Chinese New Year, people start disposing these appliances.

“For this month, I am collecting three times the amount than before,” he said.

Teoh said his main focus was electronic items, with people discarding mainly fans, rice cookers and kettles.

“It is tiring as there are plenty more goods to sort out.

“I have to segregate them and see if the appliances can be fixed or sold as dismantled parts.

“If it can be repaired, I outsource the repair work,” he said, adding that most of the donated items were usually damaged.

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