Wingecarribee Shire Council is working with local charities to tackle illegal dumping at stores and donation bins across the Shire.
Council’s Regional Illegal Dumping Project Officer, Sara Rich, explained that dumping unusable items at charity bins cost local charities thousands of dollars each year.
“Local charities offer an important service to our community and unfortunately, they often pay the price when used as a lazy alternative to the responsible disposal of waste,” she said.
In the most recent example bags of unusable items had been dumped in wet weather outside the Mittagong branch of St Vincent de Paul.
“This incident highlights the importance of only dropping goods off during business hours,” Ms Rich said. “Donations should never be dumped outside of a charity after hours.”
“In this incident the items became water logged which immediately rendered them useless.”
“We always recommend calling the charity ahead of your visit to ensure they can accept your pre-loved belongings,” Ms Rich added. “If in doubt, it’s best not to include it because if the item can’t be re-used, then the charity is responsible for its disposal.”
Last financial year Council provided $72,000 in subsidies to local charities to assist with the disposal of unwanted items.
St Vincent de Paul’s Retail Operations Manager, Rod Douglas, explained that poor quality, dirty and broken items still made up the bulk of disposed items.
“As a general rule before you donate something ask yourself if a family member or a friend would be happy to accept it,” he said. “If not – dispose of it responsibly.”
“Dumping unwanted items only places extra pressure on our volunteers and costs money that could otherwise be directed to other services that would assist the needy in our community.”
Mr Douglas said St Vincent de Paul was more than happy to receive new and used items in excellent condition including clothes and books.
Dumping unwanted articles outside of a charity store or bin is not only illegal but offenders may be subject to an on-the-spot fine of $2,000 up to a maximum penalty of $250,000.
For more information visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/illegal-dumping.