Thrift stores & waste management see uptick in donations & trash as spring cleaning season begins

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) – Spring cleaning is a tradition many people take part in, decluttering the clothes, furniture and other unused materials from their lives, but just because they are out of sight does not mean they should be out of mind.

The Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Center sees an increase in bulky items coming off the trash truck.

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Business development manager Mark Walter says, “There’s a lot of furniture. People are getting rid of couches, sofas, cabinets, and whatever else is out there.”

However, those large furniture items end up sitting in landfills, taking years and sometimes decades, to decompose. Not only that, Walter says the big materials can damage the equipment waste centers use.

“It actually does a lot of damage to our machinery. This compacter is basically a plunger that pushes stuff into the back of semis, and when we get big stuff in there, it’s been known to puncture the sides and roofs of the semis,” Walter says.

Rather than discarding furniture items, Walter suggests donating, saying, “Goodwill, St. Vincent, even Habitat Restore will take a lot of that kind of material.”

A place that not only accepts furniture but also clothes, toys and other items is Ablelight Thrift Shop.

Formerly known as Bethesda, Ablelight supports group homes for people with intellectual disabilities. While a large influx of donations during the spring cleaning season can be overwhelming, store manager Angelica Pfitzinger says it keeps the store achieving its goal of helping others.

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“We definitely get an increase in donations, especially around garage sale season. We enjoy it. It keeps us busy, and being in Wisconsin with the cold and snow we get in the winter, it increases our goods to last us through the rest of the year,” Pfitzinger says.

The thrift store also recycles any items that are not in good enough condition to sell. For anyone who mentions seeing this story when they come into the store, customers will receive a 25% discount off everything, according to Pfitzinger.

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