Sallies foot bill for donors' trash
Salvation Army stores and pick-up services are not a cheap alternative to the city's rubbish dumps.
That's the message from the organisation after it was forced to pay $600,000 to get rid of rubbish dumped outside its outlet stores nationwide last year.
Unwashed and mouldy clothing, faulty electrical equipment and couches covered in cigarette burns and animal fur are just a few of the items the stores have been left to contend with, corps officer Ralph Suckling said.
"We've got genuine donors who actually want to donate good stuff to us and then we get other people who really just want to get rid of stuff that they don't want to take to the dump."
The charity didn't want to seem ungrateful because the goods received from genuine donors were "awesome", Suckling said.
"We wouldn't operate if people didn't donate stuff but it has got to be stuff that we can do something with.
"It's worse than not donating at all if it's junk, broken or too dirty to sell."
Genuine donors who leave goods outside the stores after hours are also creating a problem because people come and rifle through whatever is left out.
"By the time we come to open the shop there is nothing left of any value at all," Suckling said.
Thousands of dollars have been spent on external signs telling people not to leave things outside after hours but all to no avail, he said.
The army's Manukau outlet had to pay for its skip bin to be emptied daily last week to get rid of unwanted junk.
Assistant manager Abby Tamarama said about 30 per cent of donations were useless items that had to be thrown away.
The problem escalated over the summer holidays when people had more time for big clean-outs.
"But a lot of the stuff is just rubbish and you can't sell it."
The charity's pick-up service is also being abused, she said.
Trucks are sent to the properties of would-be donors after they have assured the Salvation Army that the donation is in great condition.
But drivers often find the goods they have been sent to pick up are in disgusting condition and donations are hard to refuse because the donors often become angry when told their items will not be taken away, Tamarama said.
Anyone considering whether items are fit for donation should ask themselves if they would give it to a friend, Suckling said.
"If the answer is no then you shouldn't give it to us either."