What not to donate to Goodwill

Tuesday night an employee was injured when he reached his hand into a box at the Goodwill on Brodie Lane and found an artillery simulator. It made a loud boom heard throughout my neighborhood and sent the police, FBI and ATF to the area to investigate if it was another bomb.

It made me think, what shouldn’t you donate to Goodwill or other charitable donation places?

Law enforcement vehicles clutter the street near the Goodwill on Brodie Lane in Austin on Tuesday. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Goodwill Central Texas has this list of Nos:

  • Mattresses and box springs (bed bugs)
  • Paint, chemicals and hazardous materials
  • Tube TVs

Its stores will accept:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Accessories (purses, ties, belts, scarves, etc.)
  • Books, CDs, DVDs, tapes, records
  • Small furniture
  • Collectible items
  • Jewelry and antiques
  • Household items (dishes, knickknacks, etc.)
  • Linens
  • Electrical items (radios, TVs, clocks, lamps, etc.)
  • Toys and children’s items
  • Computers and components

Weapons, ammunition, military materials are not on either list. I would vote that those are hazardous materials, but it’s not clear.

In our story Tuesday night: Traci Berry, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Central Texas, said it’s not uncommon for the thrift store to receive weapons, ammunition or other odd items.

“We get all sorts of crazy donations,” she said. “People bring us everything from prosthetic legs to a human skull one year, so this isn’t out of the ordinary as far as strange donations. Unfortunately, it hurt an employee, so we’re always looking at our processes to make sure our employees are safe.”

What should you do if you have something like the artillery simulator or bullets you need to dispose of?

You should not put them in your trash. You also cannot take them to Austin’s Reuse & Recycle Drop-Off Center that accepts and disposes with hazardous waste. Instead, Austin Resource Recovery instructs people who have ammunition or other like materials to call 3-1-1 and ask for police help disposing with your items.


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