Goodwill tested as stores used as dumping ground

Second-hand stores are dealing with dumped rubbish and broken appliances as donated goods, something which a local manager says isn't appreciated.

Nationally, Salvation Army stores have received mouldy clothes, broken electrical equipment and even full bags of household rubbish.

Lynmore St Vincent de Paul manager Jim Gray said that while they were happy for people to leave "reasonably good stuff" outside the front door, those who were dumping their rubbish out the back were less well received.

"The stuff for the store is normally left outside the front door and our donations vary in quality from excellent, to hmm, not so good," Mr Gray said.

Furniture left in a minor state of disrepair was usually repaired and then on-sold, Mr Gray said.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Major Christina Tyson said junk left outside Salvation Army stores was a seasonal problem which peaked around Christmas.

Although $600,000 was spent last year disposing of rubbish, the cost was spread over 125 stores, meaning an average disposal cost of $4800, she said.

"It is the nature of what we've always had to do.

"We're not wanting to sound mean spirited about it, we accept that it is a cost of doing business."

It was just "part and parcel" of operating a second-hand goods business.

Ms Tyson said the stores had worked on their signage to ensure would-be donors knew it was better to drop off goods when the stores were open.

"Then, there's the security of knowing things will make it inside the store and they're not exposed to the elements."

Salvation Army family store consultant Fraser Kearse said while there were varying levels of quality in the goods donated, most were usable. "We go through a recycling process and in terms of clothing that includes things like ragging, where that material is turned into rags that we can then sell."

Other clothes that weren't suitable for the family stores were packed into bales and sent to poorer countries, he said.

"Occasionally you might get an actual rubbish bag [filled with] someone's household refuse, but that's so few and far between that if that happens it just gets popped into the skip bin."

Mr Kearse said the amount of donations varied widely store-to-store.

While some donors knew what they were dropping off was of a very low quality, they were a minority, he said.

No one should be discouraged from donating goods, Mr Kearse said. "At the end of the day, without our donors, our Salvation Army stores wouldn't exist."

- Rotorua Daily Post

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