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posted: 3/23/2014 6:01 AM

Donated 'junk' costs stores more than it's worth

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Evansville Courier & Press

EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- Spring cleaning equals junk for a lot of people, and where that junk ends up has an economic impact on local nonprofits.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store on Evansville's southeast side receives so much trash that its compactor must be emptied twice a month.

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Store Manager Donna Gronski said it costs about $650 each time it's emptied.

"A lot of Monday mornings I come in and I'm so overwhelmed by all of the trash that's piled up," Gronski told the Evansville Courier & Press (http://bit.ly/1hrLGad ). "In the end, we spend over a thousand dollars a month to get rid of it."

Landfills charge for trash disposal, so Gronski guessed people don't want to pay to throw stuff away.

"I think people think, 'We'll just drop it off and they'll throw it away,"' Gronski said. "But they are not doing us any favors whatsoever. I don't think it connects with people that it costs us to empty our Dumpster."

Recently, Gronski said someone "donated" a five-drawer chest that only had two drawers.

People continuously "donate" mattresses, which the store doesn't sell anymore because of bed bug concerns, she said.

"It's pure nasty," Gronski said.

She said she's seen sofas with dog hair all over them.

"If you take it out of your house because you have no use for it that's one thing. But if you take it out of your house because it's trash, that's another thing," Gronski said. "We get it year-around, but we get a lot of good stuff, too."

That's if it survives. Gronski said another problem is the items that could actually sell end up being stolen before employees have a chance to move it indoors.

The store, which is open from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday, could use more housing decorations and clean clothing on its shelves. Gronski said they'd like to see more appliances with electrical cords, too.

"Since Vectren started doing (its) rebate program, we rarely get appliances anymore," she said. "We're in a great need for that. Appliances are so expensive and it's just gone by the wayside almost. When we do get them, they're gone within a day."

TVs are not on the list of needed appliances.

"We've got TVs running out of our ears," Gronski said. "Unless it's cable-ready with a remote control, it won't sell."

She said 10 to 20 TVs come through the store every week because a lot of people are switching to flat screens.

The profits from items sold in the store go to charities, such as the Adult Rehabilitation Center in Indianapolis, which takes in men with drug and alcohol addictions, men who are homeless and men who were recently released from prison.

Messages left with Goodwill Industries of Evansville were not returned.

A refused items list is posted in the window at Goodwill's First Avenue donation center.

Large signs encourage those who donate to drop off items during store hours, which are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday at all four Evansville locations.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, http://www.courierpress.com

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