Dumped items a major headache for charities

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
Community Store manager Graham Henderson with auxiliary lieutenant Colette Albino.
Camera IconCommunity Store manager Graham Henderson with auxiliary lieutenant Colette Albino. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson.

Albany charity shops are being overwhelmed by dumped donations, despite being forced to shut weeks ago.

To protect the safety of its volunteers, the Albany Salvation Army Community Store last month closed and placed signs on donation bins urging donors to stay away.

Salvation Army Albany auxiliary lieutenant Colette Albino said despite their pleas, items had been left on their doorstep daily.

“Initially, our request was for people to hold on to items and people had no problems with it,” she said.

“But in the last week or so we have seen a huge surge of people leaving things out in front of the shop even though we have signs saying we are not accepting donations due to COVID-19.”

Dumped items at Good Sammys.
Camera IconDumped items at Good Sammys. Credit: Noeline Rowsell/Noeline Rowsell.

Ms Albino said that with only one staff member remaining, the Salvos did not have the capacity to process donations and had no choice but to take them straight to landfill.

“One person does not have the capability to clear everything that has been dumped,” she said.

“It is a health hazard and if we were to leave it, it would be a bigger health hazard.

“We are not considered an essential service, so for the safety and wellbeing of our volunteers, our staff, and the rest of the community, hold on to your items.”

The Salvation Army is not the only store to be overwhelmed with donations.

The Albany Good Sammy storefront and bins are overflowing with abandoned clothes, books and homewares.

Good Samaritan Industries chief executive Melanie Kiely said the issue stretched across the State, with the organisation experiencing a surge in dumping outside of closed stores.

Ms Kiely urged the community to think carefully about what they were handing over.

“Please don’t donate anything you wouldn’t give to a friend. Please donate stuff that is clean, in good shape and is unbroken,” she said.

“It costs us a fortune to get rid of the waste.

“It creates a lot of stress for staff and these people are doing their utmost best in difficult, trying times.”

“If you need to dump stuff please don’t put it at our stores unless it is a genuine donation in which case we thank you.”

The City of Albany’s Bakers Junction Waste Facility is closed to the public because of COVID-19 but the Hanrahan Waste facility remains open.

Transfer stations at Kronkup, Redmond, South Stirling, Manypeaks and Wellstead are also operating.

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