Dodgy donations cost charities

VOLUNTEERS at Bundaberg charities are wasting time cleaning donation bins and removing trash dumped in contribution boxes.

Items including prawn shells, fish scales, dirty nappies and wet clothes have often been left in Salvation Army, Lifeline and St Vincent de Paul bins around the Bundaberg region, spoiling legitimate donations left for the charities.

Salvation Army Bundaberg community services manager Tom Osborne said the rubbish being left as donations was a continual problem.

“It’s pretty hard to put a monetary value on it because it uses a lot of volunteer time,” he said.

Nationwide the Salvation Army spent more than $6 million this year taking rubbish and unsuitable donations to council tips.

Mr Osborne had an easy rule of thumb for Bundaberg residents who wished to donate goods.

“It has got to be in a reasonable shape. If people are donating any whitegoods it is preferable that they work as we don’t have facilities to fix them,” he said.

Lifeline Capricorn Coast business manager Andrew Armstrong said there had been a number of occasions where the bins had been inundated with rubbish.

“It’s got worse since Bundaberg Regional Council starting charging to use the dumps,” he said.

Mr Armstrong said one of their biggest problems was having unusable furniture dumped on them because people were too lazy to throw it out.

“We have on occasion gone to pick something up which is unusable and then find it dumped at the bin the next day,” he said.

St Vincent de Paul Bundaberg regional manager Angela Vicenzotti said the organisation also experienced a rubbish problem.

“We have a skip bin which we take to the dump once a month and there is money involved in renting and moving that,” she said.

Mrs Vicenzotti urged residents to only donate what they thought was sensible and was still usable.

Mrs Vicenzotti said volunteers were also experiencing an additional frustration.

“There is the pilfering in the bins — anything which is left outside, and the bags get torn open and the volunteers have to pick them up.”

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