New Zealand Red Cross and Uber launch clothing drive to help Kiwis donate from their doorsteps

If you're anything like me, you'll have more than a few pieces of unused clothing in your collection, relegated to the back of the drawer or hanging forlornly - unworn and unloved - in your closet. But as the saying goes, one person's trash is another person's treasure, and those clothes could be getting a new lease on life in someone else's wardrobe.  

A new 'Cost of Giving' report commissioned by Uber has found that 97 percent of New Zealanders currently have unused clothing in their collection that could be donated to op shops. The estimated worth of this clothing? A collective $3 billion.

In a bid to get more clothes in op shops across the motu, Uber has teamed up with the Red Cross to launch a clothing drive that allows Kiwis to not only declutter their drawers in the spirit of spring, but donate from their doorsteps - without needing to dip into their savings to support charity.

According to the report, the ongoing cost of living crisis is taking a toll on Kiwis' ability to give back, with more than one-third (35 percent) of New Zealanders saying they want to contribute more to charity, but financial constraints pose a significant barrier to making monetary donations.    

However, the research also found that almost every Kiwi owns clothing that hasn't been worn in the past 12 months: pieces that would amount to an estimated value of $800 per person.

Among those surveyed, over two-thirds (69 percent) said finding the time and a local drop-off point is among the top five barriers to donating. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) also said they spring-clean their wardrobes once a year, however, those who donate tend to have their unused clothes sitting in a bag for an average of nearly three months before it's taken to an op shop.   

On Saturday, October 21, Uber and the Red Cross are hoping to collect more than 6000kg of pre-loved, quality clothing between 9am and 4pm by offering free delivery via Uber Package - Uber's same-day delivery service - to Red Cross drop-off locations in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.   

It's hoped the donate-from-your-doorstep approach will enable more Kiwis to give back by eliminating the common barriers to supporting charities.   

Stock image of clothing piles
Photo credit: Getty Images

"From the Far North to the deep south, New Zealand Red Cross provides a range of essential humanitarian services including supporting communities to respond to and recover from disasters and emergencies. We also support former refugees as they build new lives in Aotearoa New Zealand and deliver a number of vital community services, such as Meals on Wheels," Shane Chisholm, general manager of enterprise and engagement at New Zealand Red Cross, said in a statement.   

"The Uber x New Zealand Red Cross Clothing Drive provides an opportunity for Kiwis to simply and easily donate high quality clothing to Red Cross Shops, which helps to fund our humanitarian work."   

Emma Foley, Uber New Zealand's general manager, added: "We saw this year just how important it is that organisations like New Zealand Red Cross are well prepared to help Kiwis facing disasters and hardship. Cost of living pressures mean Kiwis may not be in a position to contribute financially this year, but donating clothes is an easy way to support New Zealand Red Cross's great work, and this drive makes it easy and free to give."  

Among the Kiwis who will be donating their pre-loved clothes on October 21 is comedian Chris Parker, who has hailed the initiative as a "win-win".  

"We all have that one bag of clothes sitting in the corner of our wardrobe or in the boot of our car, waiting for us to finally donate them. Not only is this a fun novel way to get behind an amazing charity, and a great reason to do some spring cleaning, but more importantly you forget how much good these items could do in the right hands," he added.   

The research was conducted online by YouGov between September 14-17, 2023, with a sample size of 1004 adults aged 18 and over.  

Clothing Drive Infographic
Photo credit: Supplied

The Cost of Giving Report also found:   

  • while Gen Z hold approximately $656 worth of unused clothing in their wardrobes, Gen X leads with $918, followed by Millennials with $825, and Boomers with $810 worth  
  • Christchurch residents had the highest value of unused clothes, $1062, compared to $800 in Auckland and $697 in Wellington
  • nearly two-thirds of Kiwis (65 percent) say they 'spring clean' their wardrobes at least once a year, and nearly two-fifths (38 percent) do so at least every six months
  • over two-thirds (69 percent) of Kiwis said there are barriers stopping them from donating clothes to charity, with time and finding a place to donate among the top five barriers.   

Here's how to do it

  1. Create a declutter date: Lock in a date night with your wardrobe. Making time to sort through your clothes is one of the biggest barriers stopping us from donating. Invite a friend to join
  2. Refresh and reset: When it comes to decluttering your wardrobe, adopt a pragmatic approach. If you haven't worn an item in the last 12 months but it's still in great condition, consider passing it on to an op shop. Red Cross is on the lookout for high-quality, saleable clothing and accessories. For the Clothing Drive, they can't accept homewares. In general, they don't accept underwear or clothing that's worn out or dirty. If it's something you'd happily give to a friend due to its quality, it's definitely something Red Cross would appreciate   
  3. Create pre-loved bundles: Gather your pre-loved items into a bag or box, no heavier than 20kg, so it comfortably sits in the boot of a mid-size car
  4. Prepare for Uber Package pick-up: Open the Uber app between 9am and 4pm on October 21 and navigate to the "Package" option. Click "Send a package", enter "Red Cross Clothing Drive" as the destination, and select one of the "Red Cross Clothing Drive" locations shown. Alternatively, you may see a banner in the app relating to the Clothing Drive, which when clicked on will allow you to select one of the Red Cross Clothing Drive locations shown. Remember, you need to be located in Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington to redeem the free delivery, and it is only redeemable once. Eligible customers will see a $0 amount payable when they book an Uber Package with the drop off location set to one of the Red Cross Clothing Drive Drop off locations
  5. Donate from your doorstep: You'll have real-time tracking of the delivery person's arrival in the Uber app, so you can easily meet them at your doorstep or curb-side to hand over your donation. You can also follow the trip status live once the delivery person picks it up.