Dumping dismay - PALS staff sick of wasting time and money removing rubbish

February 28, 2018

Frustrating: Alan Thompson who is a volunteer PALS said people dumping rubbish at the shop is becoming a real problem. The mattresses in the background is just one example.

Workers at Providing All Living Supports (PALS) Cobram have grown tired of people taking advantage of the service by leaving items at the store which can’t be sold.

According to PALS store manager Tracey Ewert, there was so much rubbish the store had to hire a 20m3 bin just to dispose of the unsellable items, costing the organisation $720.

To the staff members’ dismay, they had to hire another bin the same size to dispose of more rubbish, taking the total outlay for something they should not have to deal with to almost $1500.

Mrs Ewert said the costs were ‘‘absolutely horrendous’’ for something out of their control.

At one point there were 60 worn mattresses out the back which the organisation had to dump. Each mattress cost $30 to remove.

Mrs Ewert said the problem was really starting to rear its ugly head.

‘‘It has been bad in the past but now it is really starting to get out of hand again,’’ she said.

‘‘There has been a heap of rubbish left here. One of the volunteers who has been working here for a long time said it is the worst he has ever seen it, so that gives you some idea.’’

Volunteer Alan Thompson said his workload had gone from about 12 hours a week to almost 38 hours a week because of the time-consuming task of sorting through the rubbish.

‘‘It is probably the case at 90 per cent of op shops around Australia, but it seems to be particularly bad here at the moment,’’ Mr Thompson said.

‘‘It feels like there are not enough hours in the day to get all the work done.’’

What is most perplexing is that PALS exists purely to help others in need. It is a not-for-profit organisation providing services to people with a disability, the aged or people who are disadvantaged in accessing or participating fully in the community.

Mrs Ewert said while she could understand why residents were choosing to dump rubbish at PALS, it was unfair on staff members who had to spend countless hours co-ordinating efforts to dispose of the rubbish.

‘‘I do understand and I know that going to the tip is an expensive exercise these days, but these people need to understand that we cannot sell items that are virtually just rubbish,’’ she said.

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