Vinnies donation bins at Ruthven and Long streets are overflowing, charity bins, st vincent de paul, Monday, January 1, 2018.
Vinnies donation bins at Ruthven and Long streets are overflowing, charity bins, st vincent de paul, Monday, January 1, 2018. Kevin Farmer

NO EXCUSES: Unethical charity dumping defences don't hold up

WHILE most Toowoomba residents were outraged at the sight of piles of rubbish mounded around the city's charity bins over the New Year's long weekend, there were quite a number of people who defended the practice.

When The Chronicle posted up the story on Facebook, numerous people came out of the woodwork to offer excuses for those who cost each of our hard-working charities anywhere up to $65,000 every year in dumping costs.

The two most common reasons cited in defence of unethical dumping were costs for waste disposal and a lack of kerbside large-waste collection.

Leaving aside the obvious conclusion that it would take some pretty serious mental gymnastics to arrive at the idea that charities should bear the brunt of people's disgruntlement with waste collection services, there were actually quite a few misconceptions.

Toowoomba Regional Council Water and Waste Committee chair Cr Nancy Sommerfield said she acknowledged a kerbside large waste collection was something residents were keen on, but there was certainly no shortage of ways to dispose of waste without resorting to dumping it on charities.

"Whilst it is recognised that such a service is convenient and supported by some residents, it also creates significant safety and illegal waste disposal issues and comes at a significant cost to the community," she said.

She pointed out that all waste facilities in the region were offered at no cost, meaning residents needed nothing more than transportation to get their rubbish there, while private companies filled any gaps.

Overflowing rubbish at charity bins on the Toowoomba Range, as discovered by resident Marg Roberts when she went to make a donation.
Overflowing rubbish at charity bins on the Toowoomba Range, as discovered by resident Marg Roberts when she went to make a donation. Contributed

Misconception 1: Charities refuse to take things

If a charity is refusing to take your stained, old couch, there is a reason and it's not just to make you feel mad.

If you think that three-legged chair would still be fine as long as someone fixed it up, maybe stop and think about who would carry out that work.

If your old couch smells a bit like cat wee, who would pay the extensive cleaning costs?

If you donated cash to a charity, would you prefer that cash to go towards grocery vouchers for the needy or cleaning an old lounge?

In short, charities have more important things to spend money on than getting stains out of clothing and furniture items donated, and if you don't want it in your house, why should a needy person have to put up with it in theirs when there are plenty of other perfectly good items out there people are hoping to re-purpose?

Misconception 2: People can't afford tip costs

The Toowoomba Regional Council area features quite a number of tips and waste transfer stations and not one of them charges for people to dump household rubbish.

If you're throwing broken household goods at charities for this reason, it's because you're too lazy to look up this basic information or call council to find out.

Toowoomba has a sparkling new waste transfer station and it's completely free to use for household waste.
Toowoomba has a sparkling new waste transfer station and it's completely free to use for household waste.

Misconception 3: Council refuses to do kerbside pick-up

While it is true that Toowoomba Regional Council has no large item collection, our local waste transfer stations are easily accessible and free to use for domestic waste disposal.

So chances are, if you can get your derelict couch all the way to a charity bin, there is a good chance you could get it to a dump, even if you have to barter with the neighbours who own a van or ute.

Misconception 4: There is no room in the bin

While there might be a full bin, have you considered dropping your items directly to the charity during business hours?

Have you thought about contacting the charity to see if they can pick up your large items?

If more people did these things, there would be room in the donation bins for people who genuinely are unable to do them.

Most charities offer a pick-up service if you're unable to drop items off yourself.

You can get hold of Lifeline's pick up service by calling 1300 991 443.



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