Employees at the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store on Claude Road in Langford are sick of cleaning up other people’s trash.
Every few days employees of the store show up to work with household items and garbage left outside the doors. Every few weeks they find a large dump that can take hours to clean up.
On Sept. 12, Francina Chilibecki, the store manager, arrived to work only to find about 10 large boxes and several large bags of items left outside the store.
The bags and boxes had been ripped open throughout the night, and some had been set on fire. A large mirror was broken leaving glass scattered across the side walk.
Some of the items included clothing, paper, old computer parts and small tables.
“It was all garbage,” Chilibecki said. “Once it’s left out and people go through it, it’s all garbage.”
“People pick through it and take all the best stuff,” said Grace White, store supervisor. “Then the rest of it goes in the trash.”
The mess took five employees an hour to clean up. Items were strewn across the store entrance and the employees couldn’t open up for business until the mess was cleared. Sometimes items dumped outside the store in the evening are urinated on, Chilibecki said.
A large metal gate blocks the entrance to the parking lot when the store is closed, but that doesn’t deter dumpers.
“We aren’t a service, we are a charity,” White said. “People need to think about whether the item is good enough to give to their mother or sister. ‘If you were in the store, would you buy it?’”
The store accepts donations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Anything left at the store after hours is considered dumping.
“We ask that if people see (dumping) they get the licence plate number and report it to CRD bylaw,” White said.
Each year The Society of St. Vincent De Paul spend about $30,000 on waste removal for unsellable items, including dumped items.