Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Junk burdens op shops

Hello, my name is Angela and I am the coordinator of my local op shop. 

My shop prides itself on helping people and donates thousands of dollars every year to organisations and projects both locally and abroad.
But the burden of disposing of other people’s rubbish has become a huge problem and diverts vital funds away from those who need it most. We pay far too much money in tip fees to dispose of unsaleable items left after hours in the donation bin and outside the shop, and from all reports, this is an increasingly disturbing problem for op shops all over the country, costing millions of dollars every year in disposal fees and wasting many hours of valuable volunteer time.
After doing some research, we came across this checklist for our community members to refer to before making their next donation and it really has worked! 

“Ask yourself these simple questions:
  • Is the item still intact?
  • Has the item been washed or cleaned?
  • Is the item in good condition?
  • Do you think that the item is good enough to sell?
If the answer to all of these questions is YES then your item is in an acceptable condition to donate.
Then ask yourself these questions:
  • Am I giving away this item because it does not work?
  • Am I giving away this item because it is dirty?
  • Am I giving away this item because I have no other way of disposing of it?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES then it is not a donation and you may actually be costing the op shop money through waste disposal expenses.” 

Since we started this campaign last year, things have definitely improved.  I believe getting our community’s support has made all the difference in sending out the very clear message of stop dumping waste on our charities!


  1. I ask myself, 'would I buy this, in the condition it is in?' (assuming I was buying and not donating). If the answer is no, it's not donatable and is, in fact, rubbish. And belongs in the recycle or rubbish bin at my place, not yours.

  2. Good point, Curiousmind. If you wouldn't buy it because it was worn, torn, stained or broken, why would anyone else?

  3. Hi Angela. I also manage an Op Shop and I wouldn't have the guts to give people this check list. I think it's great that charity shops have so many supporters but most people wouldn't want to spend the time assessing sometimes a car load of donations. They see this as our job and I agree! Our volunteers have gotten very good (and quick) at deciding what is worth passing on, recycling (in our special bins) or sending to land-fill. Keep up the good work.

  4. I agree, Jude - it is our job to sort through the donations, but what we are trying to do is eliminate the bags filled with dirty, torn and broken things...and mouse poo!!!

  5. Oh yuk. I don't think we've ever had mouse poo. Have had lots of dog hair though! Yeah we get the odd "odd" person who thinks their trash is our treasure. cheers