July 20, 2010; Source: WDEF TV | Some nonprofits in Chattanooga are down in the dumps about new landfill regulations that went into effect in July. As part of an effort by the city to cover expenses, it’s now requiring nonprofits to pay to dump unwanted and unusable donations into the municipal landfill.
Organizations like the Salvation Army that operate thrift and resale shops to raise money to fund their operations are objecting to the new fees. They say that being forced to pay to dispose of items donated to them represents a hardship. As Jim Hale of Bethel Bible Village, said “We’re totally dependent on the generosity of the community of Chattanooga for our donations and we fund a great ministry with it but we unfortunately do have items that we don’t know what to do with.”
In response, the city claims the landfill is a service, and costs have to be shared among those who use it. For their part, the affected nonprofits say they, too, are providing a service to the city through the programs they offer to people in need. Therefore, they are requesting a waiver from the $23 per ton fee the city is now charging. Nonprofits also warn that if they are forced to pay dumping fees, they’ll stop taking some donations and as a result the city will ultimately bear the cost of both hauling the items and dumping them.
Salvation Amy spokesman John Diliberto said, “Our stores are not in the position of paying these additional fees and that’s going to fall down on the city I think. Donors aren’t going to bring the stuff to the landfill themselves. They’re just going to call 311.”—Bruce Trachtenberg