Well-intentioned, but illegal: it is not permitted to leave such items in front of houses or on streets and squares.
"It is an offence to leave items in a public space without permission," explains Marita Hasebrink from the Transport and Public Works department. "The city can impose a fine of up to 500 euros." The objects are often left there, nobody wants them and the donors do not dispose of them. The public order office has to inform Stadtreinigung Leipzig so that the waste can be collected.
"In principle the idea is good because giving things away is better than throwing them away. This way, waste can be avoided," explains Elke Franz, Operations Manager at Eigenbetrieb Stadtreinigung Leipzig. "There are already plenty of ways to pass on unwanted clothes and belongings to others in our city."
Online platform for unwanted items, exchange market and swap box
The Stadtreinigung for example offers a free online platform for giving away unwanted items. At www.verschenkemarkt-leipzig.de anyone can list clothes, furniture or household items with a photo and potential buyers can contact the seller.
Leipzig residents can hand in goods in exchange for others at the exchange market in the foyer of the Technisches Rathaus on Prager Straße. "We established the exchange market in cooperation with the Environmental Information Centre and the Zweckverband Abfallwirtschaft Westsachsen," said Elke Franz. "And citizens are excited. Toys, crockery and books in particular quickly change hands here."
In Schleußig there is also a swap box system which is approved and supported as a pilot project by BUND. Users have to comply with different obligations and requirements. For example, road safety and sleeping hours have to be respected. The box must be maintained regularly. Items that are not exchanged must be disposed of. "After two years, we will check whether the box is annoying or has been well received by citizens," said Marita Hasebrink.
Zweite Chance and Sozialwarenhaus
Zweite Chance at Kolmstraße 2 and Sozialwarenhaus at Eisenbahnstraße 171 have been established in Leipzig for several years. Zweite Chance opened in 2014 as a Salvation Army project. Household goods, clothes, shoes and books are the main items accepted, sorted and sold there. "Volumes have increased particularly for textiles," said Mark Backhaus, Head of the Salvation Army in Leipzig.
"One challenge is the quality of goods. We cannot use damaged, washed out or worn out clothes. Broken shoes cannot be passed on to the homeless or sold." In order to convey the message that every donation also needs to be of a certain quality, the Salvation Army advertises with the slogan "We turn your clothing donation into the collection of tomorrow." Buyers and users are usually grateful and generally come along several times. "We strive to offer good quality at fair prices - this helps people and the environment," added Mark Backhaus.
Since 2010, the Sozialwarenhaus has been the port of call for people on a small budget who purchase household goods, clothes and furniture here. The goods sold are items that have been donated by members of the public. "The quality is often good, but sometimes only satisfactory. But we also refurbish a lot of items. Yet unfortunately there are people who confuse us with a waste disposal business," stresses Thomas Oldenburg, Managing Director of the Sozialwarenhaus. "The public are pleased that we support the recycling or continued use of items and that we cannot understand why valuable things are thrown out"