The cost of cleaning up “extreme dumping” at North Geelong’s Salvos store has reached $125,000 a year, according to the charity.
An overflowing pile of donated items strewn across the entrance or rear of the store and flowing onto the pavement has become a regular problem but reached new heights after Australia Day last week.
“The vast majority” of items dumped outside Geelong Salvos store were unsellable due to damage from exposure or careless disposal, volunteers said.
Salvos Stores chief Matt Davis said dumping was an ongoing issue Australia-wide, costing a total $6 million a year and that the North Geelong store was “particularly bad”.
“It’s been getting worse over time, not only the volume of overnight dumping but also the cost of waste disposal,” Mr Davis said.
“The cost of regular waste disposal is increasing and I think that all of the dumping we receive is an indication that the expense of going to the tip is putting pressure on people.
“The cost of disposal has been growing at twice the rate of our revenue for the past couple of years, eating into funds for important social work.
“If that trajectory continues, we won’t be able to do what we exist to achieve and that’s to provide funding to The Salvation Army to assist those experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, addiction or unemployment.”
He said Monday mornings and the day after public holidays were the worst.
“Australia Day was our most recent public holiday and that’s one of the busiest days of the year for donations,” Mr Davis said.
“Instead of spending time with customers, our volunteers are finding themselves spending a number of hours cleaning up all of the items dumped overnight.
“We’re constantly in discussion with council and state government about sustainability, trying to work through these issues.”
Mr Davis called on the community to suggest ideas about how the Salvos can develop a better solution to the dumping problem.
Volunteers at Salvos stores accept donations during opening hours and assess the condition of bulkier items.
They also offer pick-ups direct from local households.
Originally published at Geelong Independent.