ADVENTURES IN THE BIN TRADE WITH ELLA GRANT
Before you leave a box of stuff you don’t want outside a charity shop, ask yourself: Would I give this to a friend? If you think you might be embarrassed even to ask, it could well be a good candidate for landfill.
If we didn’t have active and dedicated people running charity shops a lot more people would have to take their unwanted goods to the dump. We were told recently that the combined activities of the charity shops of Whanganui divert 66 thousand tonnes of goods per year from going to landfill back into productive use. That’s 66 million kilos, and if we make the, possibly quite erroneous, assumption that the lighter clothing balances the heavier china, books, and tools we could work out that that is about 150 Splash Centre pools full of stuff! Every year!
Charity shops have a very specific aim, to raise funds for their respective charities. But huge amounts of money, time and energy go into sorting and disposing of people’s rubbish. What has happened is that people can no longer afford to take their rubbish to the dump or the waste transfer station. In many places, like some parts of Auckland, they have special large rubbish collection days when old furniture, white ware, builders’ waste, mattresses and Para pools can be left by the side of the street and will get collected. Some of it will get collected a bit earlier, we know people who scored a pair of antique Danish chairs. But all of it will go and the cost is borne by all taxpayers. You know, if we could get something like that going here the charities would have a lot more money left for doing good in the hood!
■ Ella Grant manages the Cheep Shop, a charity shop to support Bird Rescue.