East Texas thrift stores struggle with dumping of trash

Trash being dumped at charity stores cost them thousands of month

East Texas thrift stores struggle with dumping of trash
The Goodwill of South Mississippi says they've received thousands more in donations so far this year than last year. (Source: Photo WLOX)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -Spring cleaning is officially upon us. And second-hand donation stores across East Texas become a popular dumping ground this time of year.

“It’s just amazing to me. It’s like they have no ownership whatever is in the bag and they just drop it off and leave," Greta Rich, the Community Outreach Coordinator for Family Crisis Center of East Texas, said.

Dirty clothes, broken televisions and dirty mattresses.

Those are just some of the unwanted items Rich says people have dumped at the local nonprofit thrift stores like Family Crisis Center of East Texas in Lufkin.

It helps them avoid having to pay the dump if they go to one of the cities dumps and it’s just a convenient way to get rid of it,” explains Rich.

The problem is thrift stores end up spending time and money to dispose of the unusable junk rather than their ultimate goal which is to raise money to help people in need by selling donated items,

We spend a lot of time employee wise. Someone is on the payroll that is there that goes through it so it’s man hours in our payroll,” says Rich.

While thrift stores appreciate and depend on donations to accomplish their work, all too frequently people leave items that which are unusable and unsaleable.

“If these items are usable that’s great, but if they’re not it cost us money. That’s resources that we cannot put into our job training, job placements,” Kimberly Lewis, CEO and President of Goodwill Industries of East Texas, says.

Lewis says for the thrift stores it’s a serious problem. She says about 10 percent of their sales go to dumping expenses.

That’s a significant cost to us. For this Goodwill with 15 stores it’s upward to $200,000 a year,” explains Lewis.

Both Lewis and Rich want and need donations, but they say they cannot afford to spend money getting rid of garbage.

Hire additional people just to sort through items that we can’t use. It also puts a strain on our budget. You’re talking about $15,000 on average a month that goes for refuge and garbage truck,” says Lewis.

"A good rule of thumb they say is, before you leave it, ask if someone else could use it. When you’re giving away an item and you want to donate it Goodwill, think about whether or not it’s something that you would want somebody to give you,” adds Lewis.

To help thrift stores cut down on the cost of disposal, residents should only donate approved items.

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