Dumped goods outside one of Nelson’s charity shops.

Dumping on charity

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A Nelson charity shop says they are forking out $20,000 a year to dump someone else’s rubbish.

Dog poo in a bag, rotten freezer loads and stained clothing are just some of the things that the Salvation Army Family Store has had to deal with.

The Vanguard St store is now accustomed to finding a ‘Monday morning dumping’ after people decide to have a ‘clear out’ over the weekend.

“It’s a huge issue for us,” says Nelson Salvation Army Captain Kenneth Walker.

“From one end, we do encourage people to donate things and appreciate the good stuff, but some people are taking it to an extreme.

“Things really do need to be usable – if you wouldn’t use it yourself, why would you give it to us?”

He says that they always clean up any waste as soon as they find it, to keep the store tidy.

“I mean – we can’t not remove it. We’re in a hard place.”

But the escalating monthly dumping bills are becoming a “burden” and he is at a loss on how to fix the problem.

Another Vanguard St charity store says they are “only just breaking even” because of the escalating cost of dumping other people’s messes.

One manager expressed that she felt like “tossing a soiled mattress onto the road” the other morning, because she is so sick of people using them as a rubbish dump.

Retail operations manager for the region’s Hospice shops, Ruth Seabright, says she believes local councils should be stepping up to find a solution to the issue.

“This is something that councils should be looking at.

“There should be a way that they can help people dispose of their waste responsibly and affordably.”

The minimum cost to take a car boot load of general waste to the transfer station is $23.

For bigger items it can cost almost $100.

“Every charity shop is vulnerable and we just cross our fingers and hope it won’t happen to us,” Ruth says.

“It’s a significant expense and we can’t control what people leave at our stores in the weekends. We just have to rely on common sense and that people are going to drop off useful items.”

Kenneth says they would like to thank those who do drop off “the good stuff”.

He says that the Salvation Army is always willing to do pickups of quality discards if people called them.

“We just want to encourage people to drop things off during store hours, because even the good quality things can get stolen or are unusable if they get rained on. We really are grateful for all the donations we get. It’s just a matter of discouraging people from dumping their rubbish.”

Until then, they think that the Nelson City Council might have a role to play in the matter.