People fly-tipping outside closed charity shops and clothing banks are costing The Salvation Army thousands of pounds which would otherwise be spent on services for homeless and other vulnerable people.
Despite The Salvation Army’s plea earlier this month for people to hold on to donations, many clothing banks and charity shops are still being overwhelmed with dumped donations which are attracting vermin and becoming a health hazard.
The Salvation Army has been forced to mobilise an emergency response to clear the clothes and other items. Not only does clearing up come at a cost to the charity but clothes left outside sadly end up in landfill.
The Salvation Army is one of the largest clothing bank collectors and operates these, along with a chain of charity shops, via the Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCoL). The lockdown has closed its clothing collection operation and shops, which has had a serious impact on the church and charity’s income.
Tony Hosking, SATCoL’s Director of Clothing Collection Division has this urgent message for people tempted to leave clothes at recycling sites:
“I know people think they are helping by donating clothes but they must understand that bags left outside shops and clothing banks is fly-tipping. We have to pay to clean it up and sites quickly become a health hazard so the clothes are destined for landfill.
“We are always so grateful for people’s donations which raise vital cash to provide support like a hot meal for a rough sleeper or essentials for a desperate family needing to use a food bank – but we are unable to empty clothing banks during the lockdown.
“Please help your unwanted clothing do more good and keep items out of landfill by holding onto them until after restrictions have lifted and we are able to empty clothing banks.”
Emergency clean up teams will visit worst affected recycling sites in the coming days to take the dumped clothes straight to landfill as there is no alternative during the coronavirus movement restrictions.
For every carrier bag of dumped clothing which ends up being taken to landfill from the recycling sites the church and charity will lose £7. Other charities which also operate clothing banks on the same sites will also miss out on vital cash for their good causes.
Money raised from clothing banks and charity shops raised £9m for the church and charity last year and the shortfall due to the lockdown is estimated at running into the millions of pounds, at a time when demand for help from those hardest hit by the coronavirus is rising.
Such is the urgent need for food and other vital support for people hardest hit by the coronavirus that The Salvation Army has launched a Coronavirus Impact Fund. The appeal will help meet the growing demand on its food banks and other support services by people affected by the social and economic fall-out of the pandemic. People can support the fund by making a financial donation on the church and charity’s website.