Buying second-hand goods is only one part of the circular economy. The other crucial part is being able to, as Marie Kondo says, say “Thank you” and pass your items on. In the US, it feels like common knowledge to go down to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army, or even better your local clothing drive or charity shop, but it’s hard when you don’t get the culture of things in your new place. Where can I donate my goods in France? Do they go to a good organization? Are they accepted?
I tried to learn a little bit more about the circular economy and the general view of donation in France (specifically Paris), so I headed over to the WANTED Paris facebook group. Originally, I was looking for a buy nothing group in Paris and stumbled upon this one. It doesn’t quite function quite as well, but it is interesting to read the posts or ask questions about various topics. I went to the search bar to try and see what the consensus was.
I started out searching various phrases in french related to “where to donate” and saw that many posts references the associations or websites such as Emmaüs or GEEV, which I will talk more about below. I also saw that many people were directly asking for the donations as well. I tried to search “économie circulaire” (the circular economy), but I was a bit disappointed to find that almost all the posts were related to business, searching for a job, and selling things. Luckily, I found a couple websites that were a bit more helpful.
Where to Donate Your Goods in Paris?
While Emmaus might be the most well-known, it is not the only option, but it is probably the easiest and closest depending on where you live.
- EMMAUS – click for a full list and map of where you can both donate and buy second-hand goods. Make sure to click the exact location you want to go to and double check the times they will accept donations. They do not necessarily accept donations at all hours of opening.
- Secours Populaire – Another organization that helps people both in France and around the world. Clothing will either be sold in a charity shop or given to those who need it.
Paris Location: 6 passage Ramey, 18 arrondisement
Other donation locations
- Croix Rouge Française – Clothing will be given to those who need it or sold in a charity shop.
Find a donation spot
- Utopia 56 – Refugee Associations – This one might be a little more difficult for non-french speakers as you will need to email them to set up a time and location for the donation. In addition they only collect men’s, boy’s, and baby’s clothing, as well as home linens. Find their contacts on this page.
- Re_fashion: This is not an organization, but rather a conglomerate of all of these. Here you can type your address and find all the possible places to donate your things. It is here you will also find all the “Conteneurs dans la rue ou sur un parking“, meaning large containers or bins where you can dump your things. Usually they are located on the sidewalk. Pull down the handle and deposit your things. Optionally, you can place your items next to it. Someone is bound to take them, or put them in for you. Here you can see a picture from google maps of one of these containers.
Your local ressourcerie! If you don’t know by now, I am obsessed with these places. You can read more about them in my dedicated post here, but be sure to check the times that they accept deposits. You can find a list of all the ressourceries on the City of Paris website. Find your local one and go on their website to find the drop off times.
Particuliers, People Around You
While doing some research I found a rather sad story on this blog L’Arrogante:
…..I went to find a relay point. They are these large gray bins, everywhere around Paris. …..One time when I went I had put some clothes [in the bin] and a group came behind me, putting a child inside [the bin] to take out the deposited sweaters. I was shocked, they pulled everything out and onto the street. I would have preferred to give it directly to them rather then watch this scene where a child could have been hurt…..Translated to English, Originally in French, L’Arrogante LINK
It is indeed shocking to read stories such as this, and it shows that there is really a need among some people for simple things such as clothing. While it is shocking, the longer I think about it, the less I am surprised. I see people doing this everywhere. People who go from trash bin to trash bin and dig around, pulling their caddie behind them and pulling out random objects from the trash bin.
Myself, I admit, I have picked up bags of clothing that I found left on the street and taken them home, washed them, wore them, etc. Sometime I returned the favor, and left my own stuff out on the street waiting for people to take them. There is a slightly easier way, with less chances that your stuff will continue to stay out and just be collected as trash.
Any of these places you can place an announcement or make a demand (if you are looking for something in particular) for objects. It’s still not as great as a BUY NOTHING group, but it is in the right step.
Clothing Swap = Le Troc
Another option available is going to a clothing swap! I had thought these did not exist, but today I finally learned the terminology, un troc!
Paris-Friendly occasionally hosts free troc parties in Paris. You can join their facebook group to learn more and stay updated. There is an english speakers version as well, though it seems they have yet to host their first clothing swap.