May 11, 2011; Source: KFOR | Some charities in and around Oklahoma City are down in the dumps about donations they’ve been receiving from residents. Television station KFOR reports that people have been using charity dropoff bins, meant for items that thrift stops either resell or pass on to those in need, as places to dump items that should have been carted off as garbage.

After spending “the last several months staking out local charities,” the station reported, “you won’t believe what some people call ‘legitimate.'” Donated items include “chewed up children’s toys, urine-stained mattresses, and tattered furniture.” Even though the dropoff bins urge people not to litter, that plea is increasingly ignored.

Annie Doll, owner of a local thrift shop, which lets low-income residents use vouchers for clothing and household items, says, “No matter how much a person is in need or how low their budget, if they get it for free, they also don’t want unusable items. They don’t what shirts with spots or holes or tears.”

Not only do the useless donations rob stores of inventory, but it also costs them to have the worthless items hauled to the dump, where they should have gone in the first place. One nonprofit reportedly will spend $5,000 this year in hauling fees. According to KFOR, things got so bad for one Salvation Army outlet, it no longer lets people drop off items at free-standing bins. Now its dropoff sites have to be manned to prevent people from dumping and running.—Bruce Trachtenberg