Op shop dumpers under surveillance


People who illegally dump donations outside charity shops will soon have to watch their backs and check for cameras.

NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman launched a state government scheme today (Tuesday) to give charities grants of up to $7000 each, which can include cash to fund surveillance equipment, fencing, lighting and gates.

The Environment Protection Authority’s Reducing Dumping on Charitable Recyclers project aims to stop sneaky charity shop dumpers in their tracks and save charities millions of dollars and thousands of hours in volunteer time.

Susan Goldie, Executive Officer St Vincent De Paul Society Parramatta Central Council, said Vinnies was hugely grateful for good quality donations but illegally dumped donations caused staff extra work.

“Almost 50 per cent of funding for Vinnies’ works in local communities is generated by the sale of donations through our shops,” Ms Goldie said. “Unfortunately though, many of our volunteers are faced with sorting through wet and damaged goods after they have been left outside bins or shop fronts overnight, over weekends and during holidays.”

Pat Daley from the EPA Charity Recyclers Reference Group said charities struggled to keep up with the volume of unusable goods dumped on doorsteps of charity shops or around donation bins.

“Charities rely on donations to raise funds for their important work, but the cost of sorting and disposing unusable goods cuts deeply into fundraising efforts,” Mr Daley said.

Mr Speakman said that charities received an estimated two billion items or 300,000 tonnes of goods each year but had to dispose of about 40 per cent of this because it was unusable.

“This equates to 120,000 tonnes of waste. The cost alone of getting rid of this rubbish is up to $7 million a year,” Mr Speakman said. “The government has been working with charities to help them manage the cost of disposing the unusable goods that are dumped in Australia each year.”

The Reducing Illegal Dumping on Charitable Recyclers grant program is part of the Government’s $58 million Waste Less, Recycle initiative.

 Waste Less, Recycle More is a $465.7 million investment designed to transform waste management and recycling in NSW. More information on the EPA grants scheme is available online at www.epa.nsw.gov.au/wastegrants/charitable-recyclers.htm


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