If it ain’t for a mate, then don’t donate

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NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman today called on members of the public to help prevent turning charities into a dumping ground for unwanted, unusable goods.

The number of unusable “donations” made to charities peaks during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, adding to the millions of dollars Australian charities spend each year on disposing of unwanted goods.

Charities across Australia receive almost 800,000 tonnes of goods each year, but around a third of these donations cannot be reused or recycled. This means charities are left to foot the bill for more than 250,000 tonnes of waste each year.

“During the holiday season, charities see a spike in unusable donations and even some unscrupulous behaviour of people using street-side clothing bins as dumping grounds for food waste and other rubbish,” Mr Speakman said.

“Donating unwanted goods is a great way to help those less fortunate, but as a rule of thumb if it ain’t fit for a mate, then don’t donate.”

The NSW Government is working with the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations to create awareness about responsible donations.

“We are always grateful for the many people who donate generously and thoughtfully. As profits from our shops fund our community programs in Sydney and the Illawarra, their contribution not only helps the environment, but also assists our work,” Anglicare Operations Manager for Shops and Factories Julie McAuley said. 

“A simple piece of clothing that one person may no longer need can also be loved again by others and put to good use. There are a lot of ways a considered donation can assist the community.”

The Environment Protection Authority’s Reducing Dumping on Charitable Recyclers project, part of the NSW Government’s $65 million commitment to addressing illegal dumping, offers charities grants to install surveillance equipment, lighting, fencing and gates to get charity donors to do the right thing.