Charities face clean-up bill

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Charity bins outside Warnbro Centre often have items dumped there.
Camera IconCharity bins outside Warnbro Centre often have items dumped there. Credit: Pierra Willix

Charities are urging people who want to donate items to reconsider leaving them outside bins, as money is being redirected from assisting the community to instead pay for the removal of items.

Charities are spending more than $312,000 each year to remove items left outside donation stores and bins.

In Rockingham over the past week, items like a washing machine, stained mattresses, used socks and undies were all dumped outside bins, and will now have to be sent to landfill.

There are 22 charity bins in the City of Rockingham, which are operated by organisations including Vinnies and Good Sammy’s.

Vinnies retail operations manager Signe Balodis said a significant challenge for charities was managing items left outside stores or bins, which although may be left in good condition, could be destroyed by others or weather conditions.

Vinnies spent $70,000 last year disposing of items that were donated, but could not be used.

“Any items that are disposed of carelessly or without regard for consequences, will inadvertently become someone else’s responsibility,” she said.

A baby seat was dumped with board games outside a bin in Rockingham earlier this week.
Camera IconA baby seat was dumped with board games outside a bin in Rockingham earlier this week. Credit: Pierra Willix
Dirty mattresses were just some of the items left outside this bin in Rockingham earlier this week.
Camera IconDirty mattresses were just some of the items left outside this bin in Rockingham earlier this week. Credit: Pierra Willix

Good Samaritan Industries chief executive Melanie Kiely said while dumping and theft did occur, it was only a small percentage of people doing it, but this behaviour was “spoiling it for others”.

“Donations through charity bins are the lifeblood of organisations, as it is through the generous donations from the community that we are able to fulfil our mission of creating opportunity for work and independence for people with disabilities,” she said.

“Anti-social behaviour around bin sites spoils it not only for the charities, and the people they support, but also for the community, many of whom are wanting to recycle their goods.”

She said 11 metropolitan councils had already removed donation bin sites from public land. Charities spent “hundreds of thousands of dollars each year” disposing of broken items, which was money that could have been used elsewhere.

“It is unfortunate that most of the donations that are left outside bins are quite often destroyed and are no longer of any use to anyone,” she said.

Some of the dumped items.
Camera IconSome of the dumped items. Credit: Pierra Willix
Clothes were dumped outside this bin.
Camera IconClothes were dumped outside this bin. Credit: Pierra Willix

City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said the City was aware of issues surrounding dumping at charity bins, and was working with relevant charities to help find solutions.

Local government cannot fine people for illegal dumping at charity bins- this responsibility lies with the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

If convicted of the offence, individuals can be fined up to $62,000.

Mr Sammels said illegal dumping was preventing people from receiving much needed items and goods.

In Kwinana, there are a total of has 15 charity bins located throughout the City.

City of Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams said the City had not seen an increase in offences reported in recent weeks or months, but said if it occurred, the City would “take action against those responsible”.

Those wanting to ensure donated goods can be used are being asked to ensure items are put inside the bins, or dropped off to a store.

“If you’re going to take the time to donate, you want to make sure it goes where you intended,” Ms Kiely said.

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