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Dunedin charity shops are spending thousands of dollars to get rid of rubbish that has been left outside their shops and in donation bins, under the guise of donations.
Soiled clothes, bedding and mattresses, old televisions and even lawn clippings were some of the offending items dumped after dark for charities to clean up.
Dunedin Salvation Army Family Store manager Jane Orbell said she caught someone leaving a television set and a computer monitor outside the South Dunedin store over the Easter break.
''I told the chap he wasn't to leave it but he just carried on unloading it and I told him I was going to prosecute and that is going to happen.''
People were often waiting until it was dark and then dumping things they knew the shops would not take.
Dirty mattresses and clothes, old televisions and even lawn clippings were dumped at their doorstep. Anything of value that was left after hours was often taken by other people anyway.
''People go through it and then leave a mess behind.''
She said they were making two or three trips to the landfill every week in their truck to get rid of rubbish.
Presbyterian Support retail manager Chrissy Anderson said they spent thousands of dollars each year disposing of unwanted items that came into the store, including unwashed and heavily soiled clothes and bedding.
Staff had to wear gloves and masks when unpacking donated goods. Some types of old clothes and sheets were popular with mechanics for use as rags but they had to be clean.
She estimated about 15% of donations were totally unusable.
''In the most part we get really good donations but our rubbish costs are extraordinary and they are going up constantly.''
Mrs Orbell said a meeting was being arranged soon with charity shop administrators and Dunedin City Council staff to work out what could be done about the problem.
- by Dan Hutchinson