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Goodwill is seeing a huge increase in donations of trash to their stores

Loads of trash being left in Goodwill's donation bins.
Loads of trash being left in Goodwill's donation bins.(Owen Kingsley)
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - After closing for months at the start of the pandemic, Goodwill stores are starting to see donations at their pre-pandemic levels again.

Customers are back inspecting the shelves.

The profits from this business model help run their job training programs to help folks find work all around the country.

“We love to donate here and we like to recycle and re-use. And we also needed the house clean for sure,” said Heather O’Brien of Hermon.

But one problem hasn’t gone away, in fact it’s getting worse.

People are donating literal trash.

It’s common for donations to come in trash bags so the occasional mix up has happened in the past.

But having to dispose of all this extra trash interferes with the programs that they fund.

“We’re not talking about a shirt that’s missing a button. We’re talking about literal trash. We may get 3 or 4 bags a day from 3 or 4 different people. But yeah just about every day we’ll get some trash donated,” said Pamela Bell, Store Manager of the Bangor Goodwill.

Goodwill Northern New England has seen a steady increase in trash donations of 155% in the past five years.

“This pandemic has been really challenging and people need our help getting career training and jobs. So when we have to pay a million dollars to dispose of trash, that’s a million dollars we can’t put into our programs,” said Heather Steeves, Goodwill Communications Manager.

So Goodwill stores are asking you to check carefully of what you’re dropping in their bins. And know that in some cases one man’s trash may not be another man’s treasure.

“There’s just some stuff that unfortunately is trash and needs to be brought to a transfer station to be dealt with safely and appropriately,” said Steeves.

Goodwill has a list of all items they do not accept on their website, in their stores, and by the donation drop off sites.

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