Council begs residents to stop dumping on local charities
Lismore City Council is appealing to the community to stop dumping unwanted items outside charity shops. Environmental Compliance Officer Stuart Thomson said the problem was so bad at one CBD location over the Christmas break that motorists could not drive along Eggins Lane as it was blocked by items left at the rear of the Salvation Army building.
Local business owners were unable to access the lane for deliveries and four truckloads of waste were removed. Stuart warned that leaving items outside op shops or charities when the organisation is closed may constitute an offence in relation to the unlawful disposal of waste, which carries penalties from $2000. Most of the major charity buildings are monitored by CCTV cameras and Council intends to look at footage with a view to issuing fines for future offences.
“Dumping costs charities thousands of dollars every year in tip fees and volunteers spend countless hours cleaning up and sorting rubbish and transporting it to the tip,” Stuart said. “We are encouraging people to only use clearly marked donation bins or to deliver items to these charities during normal operating hours where they can be received or rejected by staff.
Any item that has not been formally accepted by the charity and is left unattended in a public place will be considered waste.” Dumping items also encourages people to rummage through the articles and take items of value, leaving nothing but rubbish for the charities to clean up and dispose of.
“The idea of donating good quality, unwanted items to charity is to assist these charities financially so that they can help the vulnerable and needy people in our community,” he said. “My concern is that some people have begun to see dumping at op shops as an entitlement and believe these organisations have an obligation to deal with their unwanted household goods. “This is absolutely not the case – and it’s got to stop.
People need to take personal responsibility for what they are taking to charities and if it is waste they need to dispose of it in an environmentally satisfactory manner.” Stuart said the most baffling thing was that residents and businesses are entitled to dispose of waste for free via Council’s electronic waste voucher system. “Council offers residents three free visits and businesses two free visits to the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre each year,” he explained. “You can apply for a voucher easily online or over the phone, and you will have the voucher within two working days. We urge people to use this system and take waste to the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre where it can be placed in the Revolve Shop, recycled or taken to landfill.
“It is a shame that we have reached this point but it’s time for Council to step in and take some action. Our message is simple – do the right thing or face a fine. You have been warned.” To apply for a free waste voucher, visit www.northernriverswaste.com.au or phone 1300 87 83 87.