WAGGA charities are being forced to deal with an increasing number of people dumping items such as soiled kitty litter and nappies in their donation bins.
Compounding the issue of volunteers having to sort through household waste thoughtlessly discarded, they also have to contend with regular thefts from the legitimate donations they receive.
“People often come and go through (our donations) and spread and pinch them,” Salvation Army Wagga store manager Julie Cheverton said.
“It’s very frustrating, especially for the people who are good enough to donate it to help the community, and then people come along (and steal).”
When the Salvation Army’s Wagga store isn’t dealing with thefts, its being forced to sort through household waste that has included “nappies full of faeces”, blood-stained underwear and syringes.
“You name it, we’ve had it,” Ms Cheverton said.
Ms Cheverton estimates the charity pays upwards of $6000 to Wagga City Council each year in tip fees to get rid of the unwanted waste.
Vinnies in Wagga faces a similar story, with around 75 per cent of clothing donations they receive unusuable.
Disposing of those unsellable clothing items, which Vinnies won’t foist on those in need either, along with other waste costs them several thousand dollars each year.
“That’s thousands of dollars we could be putting back into the community and helping people,” Vinnies retail area manager Matt Kanck said.
With many of the items received simply having to be thrown out, Vinnies is now facing a massive shortage of winter clothing stock.
Mr Kanck wants to see people act more judiciously in what they donate to the charity.
Clothing items that Vinnies are unable to use include those that are soiled or have tears, holes, faulty zips, chips or cracks.
“Sometimes one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but sometimes it is just trash,” he said.
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