Campaigns: Dumping on charities

The unintended consequences of government policy

The issue

State government policies to improve waste management have led to a significant increase in illegal dumping of litter and broken, damaged and unsaleable items on charity recyclers – the operators of charity recycling bins and charity op shops – as residents and businesses seek to avoid paying the increased tip fees and landfill levies.

These policies are having significant impacts on charitable recyclers. In addition to the increased cost of disposing of unusable donations which is estimated at $20 million nationally, charities are also having to pay to dispose of this dumped waste that is often left around donation bins and at op shop entrances.

The unintended consequence of landfill levy policies is that every dollar spent disposing of waste from donation sites, is a dollar taken from the delivery of the charities’ community programs. 

The solution

On behalf of the National Association of Charitable Recycling, Apical International developed a national strategy to profile the issue of dumping on charities to state governments and through the media.

In May 2012, the Victorian Coalition Government announced a $2 million plan to help charitable recyclers fight back against the unfair burden of illegal dumping at their outlets. A second program of $1.2 million for 2014/15 was announced in February 2014. Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said the funding would support efforts to both reduce dumping and help charities cover the cost of disposing of waste.

NACRO is now working with the Victorian government, the EPA NSW and EPA Queensland on constructive solutions and an ongoing model to assist charities with the costs of unwanted waste.