As Christmas celebrations have come and gone and the new year has been welcomed, many people will clean out their homes during the summer holidays and the Environment Protection Authority has warned against accidental dumping.
NSW Environment Protection Authority waste operations executive director Carmen Dwyer said accidental dumping of clothing donations was an avoidable issue.
“Leaving items outside means they can be damaged by vandals or the weather and illegally dumped goods burden charities with the disposal costs,” Ms Dwyer said.
Almost half of people who donate their items outside charity shops are unaware it ends up in the rubbish bin rather than to those in need.
New research from the NSW EPA shows it costs NSW charities $7.3 million annually to clean items left outside charity shops and donation bins.
“It’s never okay to leave goods outside charity bins or shops on the pavement,” Ms Dwyer said.
“These people that think they are doing the right thing by leaving their quality unwanted items outside a store or beside a full charity bin need to know that charities still want those items — they just want them in good condition.”
The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations chief executive officer Omer Soker encouraged all donators to take the time to ensure they are donating responsibly.
“Each year, Australians donate more than 780 000 tonnes of clothing and goods to charity stores,” Mr Soker said.
“That means there is a huge amount of good will out there which is great to see, but we need to make sure those donations count and don’t end up damaged and in landfill.
“Charities need your donations all year round, so please declutter and donate all the stuff you don’t need to charity, but please donate responsibly.
“If it’s not good enough to donate to friends and family, it’s most likely not good enough for charity."
To donate responsibly, ensure the items are in good condition and aren't left outside full charity bins.
If charity bins are full or stores are closed, donators can come back another time or use the website https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/ to avoid receiving a fine of up to $4000 for illegal dumping.