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Dumping at charity shopfronts – don’t be a tosser

By Alexandra Craig - 27 January 2015 17

charity-bin-donation-stock

If you drive past a charity bin – or a charity shopfront like the Salvation Army or Vinnies after closing hours, it’s likely you’ll see a few overflowing bags, and possibly a variety of electrical goods like fans and heaters (I’ve even seen a dishwasher before!) cluttering up the area next to the bin, or the entry way to the store.

These stores all have signs asking people to not leave donations outside when the store is closed, and the bins ask people not to leave donations if the bin is full. But, still people persist.

While I think it is fantastic that we have so many charitable people in our communities, leaving donations lying around like this causes a few problems. It can lead to looting, items spilling onto the road causing traffic problems, and generally makes the surrounding area look messy and dirty.

It makes me wonder, do people just not see the signs or choose to ignore them when they do, or are people too lazy to return when the shop is opened, or to drive to another charity bin. When I’m donating items to charity, I actually want them to turn up at the charity – not scattered across the road or for someone to score them for free by scavenging. I actually saw two people — early to mid-twenties, nicely presented and what not — tearing into bags left next to the charity bins at Lyneham shops picking out what they wanted and leaving the remainder across the footpath.

Then there’s the whole issue of people using charity bins and shopfronts as a substitute for the tip. Dumping their crap, that can’t be reused or sold, because they can’t be bothered to drive to the tip or to pay for the waste charge.

The ACT Government introduced a Code of Practice for the Management of Charity Bins on Public Land in April 2014. The Code aims to achieve a balance between the bins being used for receiving donations, and mitigating against illegal dumping. The Code consolidated the placement of bins to 14 locations from 50.

There’s now less places for people to dump their junk (as well as less places for people to leave genuine donations), but people still manage it. The op-shop at Kingston closed down months ago yet people are still leaving stuff out the front.

When this happens at a charity shopfront, the charity has to fork out the waste charge at the tip. The Salvation Army reported that in 2013, over $6 million of their funding was spent on waste charges, getting rid of other people’s junk. This is disgraceful. Someone else has palmed off their unusuable junk to the charity and is making it the charity’s responsibility to dispose of it. Incredibly uncharitable and it’s essentially taking funds from these organisations; funds that are needed elsewhere and used to actually help people in need.

If you’re one of the people who might do a sneaky night-time drop off of unusable items to a charity shopfront or donation bin: think twice about it. It would cost you less than $30 to drop off a few items at the tip, but it’s costing our charities a lot more.

What’s Your opinion?


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17 Responses to
Dumping at charity shopfronts – don’t be a tosser
John Moulis 2:51 pm 28 Jan 15

Thanks to these grots and their dumping, we have had all the charity bins removed from Pearce Shops. At least we can still take clothes to the Salvos Store at Phillip Marketplace.

Alexandra Craig 2:03 pm 28 Jan 15

robcrisp said :

The bins need to go and people should take donations straight to the shopfronts (round the back) where the items can be screened.

People already do that. They dump the items at the store at night or before/after closing hours. The volunteers arrive for work in the morning and have to clean up the mess and take it to the tip.

Maya123 2:02 pm 28 Jan 15

Maya123 said :

robcrisp said :

The bins need to go and people should take donations straight to the shopfronts (round the back) where the items can be screened.

When I have clothes to donate I hand them washed and ironed to the volunteers in my local charity shop. They have never complained with me doing this; in fact once when I told them they were washed and ironed the worker said that would save them the expense of having to send the clothes out to the cleaner and they could hand them immediately.

That’s ‘hang’, not ‘hand’.

Maya123 2:00 pm 28 Jan 15

robcrisp said :

The bins need to go and people should take donations straight to the shopfronts (round the back) where the items can be screened.

When I have clothes to donate I hand them washed and ironed to the volunteers in my local charity shop. They have never complained with me doing this; in fact once when I told them they were washed and ironed the worker said that would save them the expense of having to send the clothes out to the cleaner and they could hand them immediately.

robcrisp 12:26 pm 28 Jan 15

The bins need to go and people should take donations straight to the shopfronts (round the back) where the items can be screened.

tooltime 12:25 pm 28 Jan 15

Maya123
10:34 am
28 Jan 15
#9
tooltime said :
I’m with Miz,

The irony is the disservice the poor are doing to themselves – by dumping, the charity can’t afford to sort through/reuse/pick up and sell items from which the poor would benefit. Instead the charities limited resources are consumed paying labour & disposal fees. A lose/lose. When you factor in the fewer donations the charities will receive in future because there’s fewer bins around for convenient disposal of second hand stuff, it becomes a triple lose…

The trouble is, a certain percentage of the poor are likely to not be very bright and can’t/don’t comprehend the damage they are doing to themselves.

Maya 123,

Yes, I Agree

Maya123 10:34 am 28 Jan 15

tooltime said :

I’m with Miz,

The irony is the disservice the poor are doing to themselves – by dumping, the charity can’t afford to sort through/reuse/pick up and sell items from which the poor would benefit. Instead the charities limited resources are consumed paying labour & disposal fees. A lose/lose. When you factor in the fewer donations the charities will receive in future because there’s fewer bins around for convenient disposal of second hand stuff, it becomes a triple lose…

The trouble is, a certain percentage of the poor are likely to not be very bright and can’t/don’t comprehend the damage they are doing to themselves.

Mysteryman 10:30 am 28 Jan 15

miz said :

While not condoning this behaviour I think this is a poverty-related issue. I think Canberrans are generally unaware that there is a surprising proportion of hidden poverty in Canberra – the kind of poverty that means you can’t afford tip fees, or rubbish removal for hard rubbish such as mattresses, and have no way of getting it there anyway – no trailer.

These are likely to be ‘working poor’ families who are paying high rent. When there is nowhere to store excess stuff, you have to move (which happens a lot in Canberra) and all spare money is going on the next advance rent and bond, what solutions are genuinely open to you?

A hard rubbish collection for all residents would greatly assist in limiting this kind of dumping. The ACT’s very, very limited hard rubbish scheme is useless and IMHO poorly targeted, as it is only for pensioners, which understandably has not affected the dumping problem.

In other jurisdictions (depending on the scheme) you can either ring up the council and request a hard rubbish collection twice a year on a day set by you, or there are scheduled collection days twice a year. I think it is quite mean of the government to abandon the charities in this matter. We can afford this kind of collection if Queanbeyan has one (which it does).

I don’t believe that for a second. Tip fees are not prohibitive. Sacrifice a packet of cigarettes or two and you’ve got the money for tip fees. Also, there are free services like gumtree for advertising items that other people might want.

I’m willing to bet that in nearly every instance it’s nothing to do with not being able, and everything to do with not caring and not taking responsibility.

tooltime 10:18 am 28 Jan 15

I’m with Miz,

The irony is the disservice the poor are doing to themselves – by dumping, the charity can’t afford to sort through/reuse/pick up and sell items from which the poor would benefit. Instead the charities limited resources are consumed paying labour & disposal fees. A lose/lose. When you factor in the fewer donations the charities will receive in future because there’s fewer bins around for convenient disposal of second hand stuff, it becomes a triple lose…

Maya123 10:05 am 28 Jan 15

rosscoact said :

I disagree there Miz. The people who dump dirty nappies, half empty paint tins and broken toys are simply disgusting pigs. They are the people that if they didn’t have charity dumps to get rid of their rubbish will take it into the bush. There is nil justification for this and pretending there is just encourages them.

+1

rosscoact 7:37 am 28 Jan 15

I disagree there Miz. The people who dump dirty nappies, half empty paint tins and broken toys are simply disgusting pigs. They are the people that if they didn’t have charity dumps to get rid of their rubbish will take it into the bush. There is nil justification for this and pretending there is just encourages them.

miz 10:30 pm 27 Jan 15

While not condoning this behaviour I think this is a poverty-related issue. I think Canberrans are generally unaware that there is a surprising proportion of hidden poverty in Canberra – the kind of poverty that means you can’t afford tip fees, or rubbish removal for hard rubbish such as mattresses, and have no way of getting it there anyway – no trailer.

These are likely to be ‘working poor’ families who are paying high rent. When there is nowhere to store excess stuff, you have to move (which happens a lot in Canberra) and all spare money is going on the next advance rent and bond, what solutions are genuinely open to you?

A hard rubbish collection for all residents would greatly assist in limiting this kind of dumping. The ACT’s very, very limited hard rubbish scheme is useless and IMHO poorly targeted, as it is only for pensioners, which understandably has not affected the dumping problem.

In other jurisdictions (depending on the scheme) you can either ring up the council and request a hard rubbish collection twice a year on a day set by you, or there are scheduled collection days twice a year. I think it is quite mean of the government to abandon the charities in this matter. We can afford this kind of collection if Queanbeyan has one (which it does).

tooltime 2:38 pm 27 Jan 15

Yes,

These dumpers are pretty darn selfish & lazy. I was talking to a bloke who did a bit of volunteering in the Salvos shop over in Queanbeyan- they ripped their bins out after somebody dumped asbestos there. Vinnies have done the same. Same old story, isn’t it? The few spoiling it (pun intended) for the rest of us…Remember, there’s $6 MILLION that isn’t going to needy families next year – nearly $16,500 each day- from one charity. Makes you wonder what the combined figure is…

Evilomlap 12:55 pm 27 Jan 15

I lived near Gungahlin marketplace back in about 2003 when the influx of new suburbs around there began. Most Saturdays when I’d wander across to the bakery I’d see soiled mattresses, broken TVs, broken bed frames, old smashed computers and all sorts of junk piled around the charity bins there. And like clockwork during the week there would be the incredibly patient-looking guys from St Vinnies packing it all into a truck to take to the tip. That’s why there’s less and less of these bins around, it just costs the charities too much to keep cleaning up these inconsiderate morons’ mess. If I have stuff to donate I’ll happily drive it to the St Vinnies depot in Belconnen. Would others here do the same? Maybe it’s time to get rid of all the bins? Maybe the pro’s outweigh the cons, but from the looks of those bins at Gungahlin I doubt it.

Milly Withers 11:37 am 27 Jan 15

I live just around the corner from Kingston shops, and it’s a shame to see people dumping their rubbish around the back of the old op shop. When the rubbish is removed, it’s only a matter of days before another carload of old books, potties and rusted bikes appears outside.

The charity bins at Cooleman Court are pretty bad too, particularly just after Christmas and January when people have time to do big clean outs.

I reckon people dump things outside charity bins because they’re too lazy to take it to the tip or sell it online, and they know that volunteers will eventually pick it up and do the hard work for them. Pretty shameful when you think about it. Charity bins are a great idea, but a few dead beats are ruining it for everyone else.

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