Rise in unsold consumer goods amid cost-of-living crisis

Charity organisation Good360 has received a 20 per cent increase in the volume of unsold goods from businesses over the past 12 months.

The items received by Good360 include clothes, homewares, appliances, toiletries, and toys, that would otherwise have been sent to landfill or wasted sitting in a warehouse.

Alison Covington, Founder and Managing Director of Good360, a charity that delivers unsold new consumer goods to a network of over 3,700 charities and disadvantaged schools, said despite the charity’s redistribution, there could be many more unsold consumer goods soon headed for landfills, potentially creating an environmental crisis.

“The cost-of-living crisis has created record demand for our services – we are supporting twice as many people today as we were during the Covid-19 pandemic. The increased cost of living is not only creating higher demand on charities providing relief to people under economic distress, but as retail sales decline there are untold volumes of unsold products heading for waste.”

The increase in demand for support and unsold goods donated has coincided with 12 interest rate rises from the Reserve Bank and a steep decline in retail spending.

“It’s crucial governments step in and help redirect unsold goods to Australians doing it tough. Just $1 million in funding could divert $20 million worth of unsold consumer goods away from landfill and towards people in need.

“Helping redirect unsold goods to people in need is a non-inflationary way the government can help tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Ensuring millions of new clothes, appliances, toiletries, and other products don’t end up in landfill also prevents unnecessary waste and could avoid creating a potential environmental crisis,” explained Covington.

Covington said that a Deloitte Access Economics report they commissioned in 2022 found that $2.5 billion of unsold household goods are wasted by businesses every year.

“In the 18 months since we have seen retail sales plunge and donations to Good360 spike, suggesting there could be billions of dollars’ worth of valuable consumer goods heading to landfill instead of going to people in need.”

Yolanda Saiz, CEO St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, said the charity had also seen a huge spike in demand due to the cost-of-living crisis.

“The St Vincent de Paul Society relies on the generosity of donations from the public and our corporate partners to be able to sell in our shops to raise critical funds to support people facing poverty, homelessness, and disadvantage. In addition to this, it is wonderful to be working with Good360 who provide us with goods to distribute directly to people experiencing hardship or affected by natural disasters.”

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