We picked up this flyer at the AGH Auxiliary Thrift Store in Artesia, N.M. I saved it because I loved the little lecture (“Don’t ask the volunteers to do your dirty work”), but disposing of unsaleable crap is a major problem for almost every thrift shop.
A recent article in the Birmingham (Ala.) News discusses the problem:
Worn-out chairs, soiled mattresses and torn couches are often illegally disposed outside Goodwill by people trying to get rid of their garbage without going to a landfill.
“Every morning when we come in, there is stuff dumped out front,” said Caroline Thomas, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit organization that provides education, training and career services for disadvantaged and disabled people.
The chief operating officer of an Alabama-based chain of thrift stores is quoted as saying his organization spends about $1 million a year in landfill costs to get rid of donated junk. Like many thrift shops, they cut down on disposal costs by donating excess goods to less picky charities, some overseas.
I’m ashamed to say I’ve undoubtably donated sub-par stuff to thrift shops before. Next time I’ll make a better effort to make sure everything is clean and in working order. Meanwhile, perhaps I’ll think twice before acquiring junk destined to be a thrift-shop donation. (Maybe.)