Above: William Sullivan and a helper load a futon onto the truck that someone dropped off at the charity bins in Morinville. The item and a truckload of others will go straight to a landfill. Below: Items outside and inside Sullivan’s truck contain material that cannot be used by the charity he hauls for. – Stephen Dafoe Photos
by Stephen Dafoe
A drive by the charity bins in the No Frills parking lot in Morinville has had a lot of heads shaking of late. Broken recliners, old furniture, TVs, electronics and half broken lamps can regularly be seen dumped off outside the closed bins people are supposed to put their items in.
William Sullivan, the transportation manager of the company subcontracted to pick up the charitable goods said the Morinville pick up location is the worst of the stops he makes on behalf of two charities, the Cerebral Palsy Association In Alberta, and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
“We come here every Tuesday and it’s always like this,” Sullivan said, noting he has to cart away the unusable materials, disposing of it at a cost to the charities. “We can’t leave it. It’s a civic duty for us to pick it up because if we left it, who’s going to pick it up?
The cost of taking unusable items to the landfill is money that could be used by the charity. “Mattresses cost $10 to get rid of [at the landfill].”
He’s left shaking his head because many items like broken TVs are taken at landfills and EcoStations and recycled.
“The cords are worth money themselves,” he said, noting other parts inside a TV set can be reused. “Our pickups just go to the landfill.”
But the two charities by No Frills are not alone in having unwanted garbage dumped on their doorstep.
The Midstream Support Society’s Thrift Store continues to have a problem with people dropping off unusable goods, particularly when they are closed.
“We’re still getting a lot of unusable stuff. Our garbage trailer is going to the landfill sometimes two times a week. It’s full,” said Midstream volunteer Sherron Wehrhahn, adding she and fellow volunteers encourage people to only drop off material during business hours.
“If somebody phones, we ask them to please come during business hours because it ends up in the dump,” she said of materials dropped off and left outside in the elements. “Furniture. They love dumping furniture on the weekend. We have no place for it inside. Right now we have furniture sitting outside because we have no place to put it.”
The situation has not improved a great deal since this 2016 file photo was taken at the Midstream. Items are still dropped off that cannot be used.
The Midstream is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A recent lack of volunteers prompted the non-profit to reduce their hours earlier this year.
The Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta has clothing drop off bins at No Frills, The Rendez-Vous Centre, Circle K, and Morinville United Church, according to their website. They have no scheduled in-home pick-ups for Morinville presently.
An email request for comment from the Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta was not responded to by our story deadline.