You are the owner of this article.

What happens to unsold clothes in thrift stores? Why are deaths ruled natural or accidental on coroner's report? [We the People]

Community Aid 3.jpg

Pat Nikolaus of Lancaster, shops at CommunityAid Thrift Store and Donation Center on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

LancasterOnline is answering your questions through We the People, a public-powered journalism project.

You ask, you vote, and our reporters find the answers. 

Here are a few answers to questions that have not yet made it to the voting round. The date for the next voting round will be announced soon.

If you have a question about something in or around Lancaster County, submit it below. Your question may be featured in a future article.

Submit your email to begin asking your question.

"There are so many clothes donated to thrift shops in Lancaster County. What happens to the clothes that do not sell?"


The people check out the window display at Matthew 25 thrift store during the Second Friday in Lititz on Friday, December 8, 2017.

Nationally, according to the Associated Press, many articles of clothing are recycled or trashed before they hit the thrift shop sale floor. 

The aforementioned options are also what thrift stores will do with clothes that don't sell. 

"Not-for-profits will often give clothing to recycling companies who find other uses for the fabric. Otherwise, the items will go in the trash," writes Claire Hettinger for the Associated Press.

Here's what some local thrift stores and consignment shops do with their unsold clothes:

Question submitted by Billie B.

"For the coroner's report: What is the difference between natural and accidental deaths? What does accidental include?"


Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Stephen Diamantoni stands in front of a cabinet that holds the cremated remains of unclaimed persons at the Lancaster County Forensic Center. 

According to Lancaster County Coroner Dr. Steve Diamantoni, for a death to be ruled natural in the coroner's report, it needs to be a "result of natural medical processes."

This includes cancer, heart attacks and old age, among other medical ailments.

For a death to be considered accidental in the coroner's report, it has to be the result of accidents, injuries, or actions with unintended consequences, Diamantoni said.

This covers a wide range of incidents from car crashes and slips and falls to drug overdoses. 

It also includes if the "death was caused by an injury and the person would not have died otherwise."

An example of this, Diamantoni explained to LNP + LancasterOnline, would be if someone was in the hospital with a broken hip, but ended up having complications with blood clots, which ultimately lead to their death.

The coroner's report would rule the death accidental because the broken hip was the catalyst that led to someone's untimely death.

Question submitted by Debbie J.

For more We the People