The Estevan Salvation Army has issued a plea to the public, asking them to stop dumping unusable items off at their Thrift Store.
During the final weekend in September, several broken down, unusable major kitchen appliances were left at the Salvation Army outside of store hours. This has saddled the Salvation Army with a sizable transportation and landfill bill.
The City of Estevan charges individuals, companies and charities $10 for each major appliance that is dropped off at the landfill. An additional $10 is charged for those appliances containing Freon.
“In addition to these fees, we have to pay fuel costs for our truck and wages to our staff members to gather up these unwanted items, load them onto the truck and transport them to the landfill,” said Lieutenant Brian Bobolo.
The growing issue is preventing the Thrift Store from contributing to the Salvation Army’s Family and Community Service programs, Bobolo said. Any money that is left over after the Thrift Store pays wages and other business costs is passed along to its various support programs.
“The appliances that were dumped over the weekend alone will cost us in excess of $200 to dispose. That amounts to a loss of three nights of shelter at a local hotel for an individual or family in need,” said Bobolo.
In recent weeks, individuals have jettisoned used car parts and tires; broken furniture; empty paint cans; damaged electronics; rusted out tools; industrial waste such as plumbing, drywall, flooring and electrical scraps; major and small appliances that do not work; and household garbage to name but a few examples.
“It takes individuals and local contractors a few dollars and a little bit of time to drive these items to the dump,” said Bobolo. “The cost to us is enormous – not just financially, but also in terms of human service.”
Such items used to be dropped off at the Salvation Army occasionally, but in the last couple months, it's been occurring at a growing rate. Bobolo suspects that the rising landfill rates in Estevan might be playing a role.
The Salvation Army has an outdoor security camera near the drop-off area, and they have warned some of the individuals that have dumped items at the Thrift Store.
The primary function of the Thrift Store is to provide customers with high quality, gently used clothing and other items at a low cost, Bobolo said. Items are available for free for individuals facing great challenges.
There is not a lot of margin for unexpected expenses, he said.
“We struggle each day to pay our bills and keep the cost of the items we sell to a minimum," said Bobolo. "The $20,000.00 plus we spend each year to dispose broken down and unsellable items prevents us from hiring additional employees or providing funds to much needed social programs.”
Donors may place clothing and other small items in the red drop bin in front of the Thrift Store after business hours. Larger items need to be delivered during business hours.