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CharitiesAidWelfare, RetailOnline Retail

Mountains of unsold consumer goods needlessly going to landfill amid cost-of-living crisis

Good360 3 mins read
Alison Covington, Founder of Good360, repackaging new, unsold goods for distribution to Australians in need

New data released today by Good360 Australia shows the cost of living crisis and plunging retail sales could be creating Australia’s next environmental crisis.

 

Good360, a charity that delivers unsold new consumer goods to a network of over 3,700 charities and disadvantaged schools, has revealed it has seen a 20% increase in the volume of unsold products received from businesses over the last 12 months. These goods, including clothes, homewares, appliances, toiletries and toys would have otherwise been wasted sitting in warehouses or sent to landfill if Good360 was unable to redistribute them.

 

Good360 has also revealed demand for their services has increased as the cost of living crisis has worsened, with the charity now providing new unsold goods to 3,000 Australians in financial distress every day.

 

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. July’s retail data from the ABS shows discretionary spending on items such as clothes (down 7.2%) and household goods (down 8%) has decreased significantly since November 2022.

 

Founder and Managing Director of Good360 Australia, Alison Covington said despite Good360 redistributing millions of dollars’ worth of items to vulnerable Australians, there could be many more unsold consumer goods soon headed for landfill, potentially creating an environment 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,” said Ms Covington.

 

“We believe the volume of unsold goods, such as clothes and toys, heading for landfill could increase even further later this year as Australians continue to reign in their spending and retailers change their seasonal product lines,” said Ms Covington.

 

“A Deloitte Access Economics report we commissioned in 2022 found $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,” said Ms Covington.

 

“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,” said Ms Covington.

 

Paul Zahra CEO of Australian Retailers Association said while retailers were experiencing a drop in sales, many had strategies in place to divert unsold goods away from landfill, including working with charities like Good360.


“After 12 interest rate rises we’re seeing consumers focusing on essentials, and spending less on discretionary goods. Changing consumer habits have also meant many retailers are left with excess stock on their shelves,” said Mr Zahra.

 

“The retail sector takes sustainability seriously and many of our members implement programs to divert their excess stock away from landfill.”

 

“However while many retailers are playing their part by donating to Good360 for example, there’s more governments can do to help support the retail sector tackle the environmental issues that could be created if retailers are forced to send unsold stock to landfill,” said Mr Zahra.

 

Good360’s inaugural EveryOne Day fundraising event in October will see retailers and businesses, around Australia aim to raise up to $5 million in a bid to transfer $100 million worth of unsold goods to Australians in need over the next 12 months.

 

Learn more about EveryOne Day at www.everyoneday.org.au.

 

ENDS


Key Facts:
  • Good360, a charity that redirects unsold consumer goods to Australians in need, has seen a 20% surge in the volume of new unsold consumer goods donated from retailers in the last 12 months.
  • Every week Good360 receives 5 skip bins worth of products that would otherwise have been sent to landfill (including clothes, homewares, appliances, toiletries and toys) – if the charity was unable to redistribute them.
  • In total Good360 has received nearly $110 million worth of unsold consumer goods from retailers in the last 12 months – with billions of dollars more needlessly headed for landfill.
  • Meanwhile, Good360 has also seen a spike in demand from Australians in need as the cost-of-living crisis bites, with the charity now providing donated goods to 3,000 Australians every day. 

Contact details:

Chris Williams - 0480 386 879 / chris@kaizenco.au

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