'Not helping': Charity bins overflowing as lockdown ends

·3-min read

As lockdown in NSW comes to an end, many people have taken to cleaning out their homes and starting afresh.

Although donating unwanted items to your local Vinnies is most of the time done with the best intentions, an influx of donations combined with many stores being closed has resulted in piles of clothes being left out the front, leaving it to look more like a tip than a charity store.

Despite donation stations being open during lockdown, people are being urged to wait until stores are properly open and to think about the quality of the item before donating used goods.

Piles of clothes and items out the front of a Vinnies store
Charity bins are overflowing but many people say it's a waste. Source: Supplied

Some locals living near overflowing charity bins have taken to Facebook groups to complain, urging people to research carefully about when bins are emptied before dumping them out the front.

"Can I strongly suggest people hold off from donating until they do more research into if Vinnies are open or if they are taking donations," one woman wrote.

"However, I know you’ll be able to find numerous shelters in Greater Sydney who might actually be desperate for donated items, dumping them at your local Vinnies is not helping society!"

"What a sad waste," commented another under a photo of an overflowing bin.

Yahoo News Australia visited Waverley Vinnies in Sydney's eastern suburbs on Monday to discover large, disorderly piles of items left outside the store.

Piles of unwanted goods outside Waverley Vinnies. Source: Supplied
Piles of unwanted goods outside Waverley Vinnies in Sydney's east. Source: Supplied

'Donate responsibly' 

A spokesperson from St Vincent de Paul told Yahoo News Australia although they rely on the generosity of people, they encourage them to carefully think about the quality of what they are donating. 

"Our strong advice is to utilise the Donation Stations we’ve opened during lockdown, our charity bins, or to hold onto clothes until lockdown is over and our Vinnies Shops will reopen," the charity said in a statement, adding there's a simple rule to follow when making a donation.

"As always, our advice is ‘if you’d give it to a mate, it’s OK to donate’," the spokesperson explained.

"Please donate responsibly – if it’s dirty, damaged or dangerous we won’t be able to accept it.

"Unfortunately, items left outside Vinnies Shops and dedicated bins often need to be thrown away as they will be damaged, with the cost of disposal being borne by the charity."

Donations outside the Waverly Vinnies. Source: Supplied
Donations outside the Waverley Vinnies. Source: Supplied

'Vital' to adhere to guidelines

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) told Yahoo News Australia previously it is vital donors adhere to a set of guidelines when giving second-hand items to charity shops.

The EPA stresses that anything damaged or deemed rubbish is for the garbage bin and not the charity bin.

“For a donation to count, it needs to be a good quality item that is not stained, damaged or broken. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t give it to a mate, don’t donate,” EPA Executive Director Waste Operations and Programs Carmen Dwyer said.

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