CHARITY organisations receiving an influx of donations over the holiday period are asking people to refrain from leaving clothes and other items outside donation bins.
Chairs, storage units, wall ornaments and sports balls were some of the items dumped outside the three Vinnies donation bins at St Rita’s Catholic Primary School.
Vinnies South Coast Region Retail Operations Manager Buffy Charles said while donations were often well-intentioned, leaving unwanted goods outside bins introduced the risk of items being contaminated or damaged.
“We always endeavour to recover items left outside our donation bins, however sometimes the weather, contamination or theft prevents this,” Ms Charles said.
“Education is key to preventing people from leaving their donations outside bins.
“Many people are unintentional dumpers and that’s why we have clear signage at all of our locations to inform people of the legal, correct and preferred way of donating to Vinnies.
“We also have CCTV in many of our locations to deter theft, vandalism and illegal dumping.”
She said charity organisations had to bear the costs of disposing of unusable items.
Clean Up Australia estimated that rubbish and other unusable items dumped outside donation bins cost charities millions of dollars a year to dispose of, funds that would otherwise be going towards helping those in need.
Ms Charles said Vinnies often received an influx of donations over Christmas and New Year, and would schedule extra pickups during the busy period to cope with incoming donations.
“People are often clearing out their homes and children’s rooms before receiving gifts or starting January with a clean-out,” she said.
“What we love to receive are donations that are clean, unbroken and still have some quality to them (as) anything that is soiled or damaged… only costs Vinnies to throw away.”
Ms Charles said a full bin should not deter people from donating, and they should instead drop clothing and other unwanted items into local charity stores.
“We are always needing quality second hand clothing, furniture and bric-a-brac and encourage people to donate during shop opening hours,” she said.
Some charity organisations, including Lifeline and Vinnies, could also arrange to pick up larger items such as furniture.
Ms Charles recommended people call their local charity shop to determine whether it was accepting donations.
The Redlands has more than ten charity stores which support organisations including Vinnies, Lifeline, Red Cross, Salvation Army and Save the Children.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.