ACT News

Illegal dumping continues outside charity bins at Fyshwick's Salvos Store

Illegal dumping outside Fyshwick's Salvos store continues to be a problem without a "silver bullet" solution, despite the Salvation Army installing CCTV cameras to deter would-be litterers last year.

Several armchairs, loose clothing and household goods were strewn across the footpath outside the store on Monday in front of several large signs warning of prosecution, $200 on-the-spot fines for dumping, and advising people not to leave donations out of hours.

Dumping outside charity bins like at the The Salvation Army at Fyshwick continues to be a problem.
Dumping outside charity bins like at the The Salvation Army at Fyshwick continues to be a problem. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Salvation Army public relations director Major Gary Masters said public holidays continued to be a prime time, when people cleaning out their houses chose to dump unwanted goods outside the stores or charity bins.

"It costs us in excess of $6 million each year across NSW, Queensland and the ACT for the disposal of illegal dumping; it's a lot of money we're losing," he said.

"The cameras are meant to be a deterrent, not Big Brother trying to catch people … it really comes down to people's own choices."

Mr Masters said donations left in the weather outside charity bins usually had to be dumped or were taken by members of the public before they could be sorted by staff.


"We want to encourage people to make donations during office hours, that allows us to assess the donations on the spot and it also gives people someone to help them with their donation," he said.

"Part of the problem is that everyone assumes that all the items they want to donate will be useful and unfortunately not every item is re-saleable or useful."

Charity bins were consolidated from 55 locations into 14 central hubs as part of a new code of practice introduced by the ACT government last April, but bins outside charity retail stores were allowed to remain.

A Territory and Municipal Services spokesman said the change had reduced illegal dumping, made it easier for charities to stay on top of donations and ensure areas around the bins remained clear, and had also helped the city rangers monitor the locations.

Mr Masters said the situation had improved since the Salvos took its bins away from shopping centres and other public locations, but illegal dumping still occurred.

"I believe the removal of unwanted items is a problem for everyone," he said.

"We've got to look at new ways of doing that.

"You don't want to take the Big Brother approach, it doesn't help our image if people think the Salvos are handing out fines and we don't."

Unlike many NSW councils, the ACT does not operate a regular bulky waste collection service but does offer free pick-up for concession cardholders, with 3375 households using the service in 2013-14.

Mr Masters said he was impressed residents were able to take green waste to the tip for free in the ACT, but said many were reluctant to take bulky waste to the tip and pay fees when the Salvos store was closer to their home.

While monitoring the use of charity bins was a "day-to-day responsibility" of rangers, the TAMS spokesman said targeted blitzes occurred when necessary, most recently in the lead-up to Christmas.

"While most people do the right thing, it is very disappointing when people dump their household rubbish outside the [charity] bins and put an added burden on charities," he said. 

The Salvos operates a free pick-up service for bulky goods such as furniture on 13 72 58.