After a report revealed over 8,200 tonnes of rubbish is discarded at charity sites each year, the Queensland Government is launching a new social media marketing campaign aimed at cutting illegal dumping at charity stores and donation bins.
Queensland Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles released the Does your donation count or cost? Understanding donations and dumping behaviours and their impacts for Queensland Charities report, produced by UnitingCare Community in partnership with Queensland member charities of the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations Inc (NACRO) on 1 May.
The report, funded by a $50,000 Queensland Government grant, found “conservatively” 8,200 tonnes of rubbish had been dumped at Queensland charities in the 2014/15 financial year. Soiled mattresses, broken furniture and window blinds, green waste and household waste being found to have been dumped across several Queensland sites including Deception Bay, Kenmore, Kallangur, Browns Plains in Brisbane, and Edmonton in Cairns.
“Charities deliver vital services to our community. They don’t need to waste time and money cleaning up rubbish dumped at their doorstep uncaringly,” Dr Miles said. “We want to change people’s behaviour, and remain committed to a range of actions to promote behavioural change and improve attitudes around the disposal of waste.
“Most people do not dump intentionally. The motivation to get rid of things in a way that is easy and convenient is a key driver of unintentional dumping, but if educated about the consequences of this behaviour, most people would be dismayed to learn that their donations created a cost for charities,” he added.
Six charity organisations in Brisbane and Cairns (Endeavour Foundation, Lifeline, Salvation Army, Vinnies, Link Vision and Anhua), the Depatment for the Environment and Heritage Protection, Brisbane City Council and national and state NACRO representatives were involved in the report.
Link Vision chief executive officer Terry O’Neill has experienced the impact of illegal dumping on his charity. “Illegal dumping means that funds which would otherwise support our mission are used instead to clean up, collect and dispose of waste,” Mr O’Neill said. “Charities also receive negative comments from the public about the state of our sites, which can create some image issues for charities.