5 April 2020

Illegal dumping puts an end to charity bins

| Ian Bushnell
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Clothing bin

The overflowing clothing bin in the car park near Wanniassa Coles on Saturday afternoon (4 April). Photo: Region Media.

Charity clothing bins are being removed from public land because they are a magnet for illegal dumping.

The issue of people dumping all kinds of goods at the charity bins has been going on for years and despite a range of measures to address the problem, including CCTV to identify culprits, the problem has continued.

The situation has been compounded by the coronavirus public health emergency, which has meant not enough charity workers are available to manage the bins.

Charities themselves have been removing bins but the government has now moved to dump them altogether.

Minister for City Services Chris Steel said the government, with the support of bin operators, had decided to immediately revoke the licences of all charity bins located on public land throughout Canberra.

“This decision has been made due to the growing challenges faced by charity operators in managing illegal dumping around the diminishing number of clothing bins around the city,” he said.

“It’s unfair for the charities to have to clean up these dumpsites so they have been withdrawing these services.”

Mr Steel urged Canberrans to stop dumping goods where charity bins were previously located.

“I am urging all Canberrans to please stop taking items to charity bins from now. We have already started the process of removing the remaining ones from locations around Canberra and will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks,” he said.

High-quality items, including clothing, books and homewares, can still be accepted by charities with shop fronts.

The community is also encouraged to donate through GIVIT, which is able to facilitate online matching of donations with registered charities and community organisations for those in need.

“I would also ask Canberrans to be mindful of the current COVID-19 challenges and to consider storing their items at home temporarily during this time and to avoid unnecessary travel. Poor quality and broken goods should go in the rubbish bin,” Mr Steel said

He said that the Government would work with charities on opportunities for the reuse and recycling of unwanted items, particularly clothing.

“Following the public health emergency we will seek to meet with the charity sector and other interested organisations to work on the future of textile recycling in the ACT,” Minister Steel said.

“This will involve identifying alternative collection points in the future as well as looking to improve textile recycling beyond what is already available in the ACT.”

The government’s new Bulky Waste collection scheme, which is due to start from the middle of the year, will be able to take some items accepted in charity bins or commonly illegally dumped around them.

Donation bins at Gungahlin

Donation bins at Gungahlin in December last year. Photo: File.

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On the spot fines, gives someone a job and pays for itself.

Until recently I was a sorter at a large charity for quite a few years. At least half of all donations go to the tip as they are dirty or broken etc. This is a large cost to the charities.

Megan van der Velde5:17 am 07 Apr 20

Two good points. Taking stuff to the tip is costly and time consuming – have you seen the queues on the weekends? I am very happy to take recycled good clothes etc to charity shops. Problem is that I can only get there on weekends as I work all week and these places are often only open for a short time on the weekends. In principle, the bins were a great idea. As usual, those amongst us who can’t do the right thing have ruined it for those of us who can.

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