Charities told to clean up their act when it comes to donation bins
24 April 2019 at 5:21 pm
Charities with donation bins will need to apply for a new permit to keep the donation sites standing in a local Melbourne council, in a move aimed at tackling the growing problem of unauthorised bins and illegal dumping.
Monash City Council said it had received an increasing number of complaints from the public about donation bins placed without permission, illegally dumped waste at bin sites, and operators emptying bins late at night.
Monash Mayor Shane McCluskey, said while clothing and charity bins were a good way for people to recycle and divert materials away from landfill, “unsightly and illegally placed” donation points were a community concern.
“That’s why Monash is setting up an application process for these bins so that only approved donation points are allowed on council-owned and managed land like car parks and community spaces,” McCluskey said.
“If you are out and about and notice bins overflowing or surrounded by illegally dumped waste, in derelict condition or covered in graffiti, we want to know about it so we can get the operators to clean up their act.”
The permit will take effect from 1 July, and any charity or recycler with a current donation site on council owned or managed land must apply before then.
While all organisations will need to apply for a permit, charities who are able to prove they are registered under the Charities Act and hold current membership of the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) will not be charged a permit fee.
Bins must be clearly identified with the name and telephone number of the recycler, welfare organisation or charity group, and be clean of graffiti.
McCluskey told Pro Bono News the permit process was not in any way a move to rid the area of charity bins.
“It’s intended to ensure that legitimate charities and recycling organisations can continue their work in receiving donations to help the community, and for council to monitor and manage the issue of illegal waste dumping on land that we own and manage,” he said.
Omer Soker, NACRO CEO, told Pro Bono News illegal dumping was a cause of major concern for charities with donation bins, but it wasn’t an issue they could deal with on their own.
“I think charities certainly have a responsibility to manage their sites better, but councils have a responsibility to tackle illegal dumpers, whether that’s through education or prosecutions,” Soker said.
“I would suggest councils need to chat to people like NACRO if they have a specific objective on how can we work together to sort out the situation.”
He said NACRO’s charity members were all fully committed to a code of conduct around maintaining their bins, and that it was in the best interest of the organisation to have a clean site.
“If you have a badly managed site it can just lead to more dumping,” he said.
A spokesperson for St Vincent De Paul Victoria told Pro Bono News that while the charity doesn’t have any bins in the Monash area, introductions of similar permit applications in other council areas didn’t negatively impact donations.
Earlier in the year, Jacquie Dropulic, St Vincent De Paul NSW retail development manager told Pro Bono News despite messaging about coming back to donate another time if a bin looked full, illegal dumping dumping was still a big issue.
“People unfortunately do tend to leave their donations, and it’s a shame because the weather gets into it and then donations are spoiled, in many cases said.
Charities spend around $13 million a year nationally sending unusable items to landfill each year, and have said it puts a strain on limited resources managing the waste.