HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – The president of Big Brothers Big Sisters is making a plea to the public: Stop dumping bulky items at the nonprofit’s donation sites.
“It’s a tremendously frustrating issue having to deal with the large bulky items that we don’t take,” said Dennis Brown, the agency’s head.
Of its seven drop off centers across Oahu, the donation site at the corner of Young Street and Pensacola is the busiest.
Attendants collect clothing and small housewares. Then the nonprofit sells them ― wholesale ― to Savers Thrift Store.
The money helps Big Brothers and Sisters fund its youth mentorship program.
“We’re very, very grateful for all the donations for the items we can use,” said Brown.
But lately, the agency’s run into an issue: It’s drop-off sites have turned into dump sites.
Brown says he noticed an increase in illegal dumping shortly after the city started it’s bulky item pilot project, which requires Honolulu residents to schedule a time for crews to pick up their trash.
The program also encourages residents to donate oversized items instead of waiting to have the city haul it away.
“We actually don’t take any bulky items, period,” said Brown.
“The larger items that are left with us ― that usually happens when our attendant’s not here at nighttime. It becomes our problem and we have to take them to the dump.”
That means money that should be going toward the agency’s youth mentoring program is being spent to pay its drivers to deal with the oversized opala.
“We’re paying them overtime,” Brown said. “Usually when that happens it’s because they have a full day already. And to do the dump run, or the runs as it turns out, during the week is an extra cost to us.”
It’s also paying employees OT to monitor the donation sites after hours.
Tim Houghton, city deputy director of Environmental Services, said in a statement that he’s “not sure” there’s a correlation between illegal dumping and the bulky item pilot project.
“However, we appreciate hearing about the concern and will work with the nonprofit and other nonprofits to see if there are impacts and to see what can be done,” he said.
“We would like to stress and reiterate to the public to use opala.org website for a listing of donation organizations and call them to see if the item you would like to donate is accepted at the nonprofit.”