Source: Auckland Council
Leaving unwanted items outside op shops during lockdown is a costly headache for charities, and it could be a costly mistake for those responsible as well.
In previous lockdowns, piles have grown outside the shops around Auckland, and the problem is starting to pile up again. While some people may think they’re doing the right thing with their unwanted items, it is actually illegal dumping.
People caught illegal dumping, and that includes leaving items outside when the shops are closed, face instant fines of $400 and on successful prosecution, up to $30,000. Auckland Council investigates cases that are reported and issued over 40 fines in the period from July 2019 to June 2020 for dumping outside the stores.
Auckland Council’s General Manager Waste Solutions Parul Sood says a lot of people use lockdown as a time to clean out their homes and garages, but at home is where items need to stay until stores reopen. “The responsibility for clearing dumping on private land sits with the owner, which is unfortunate for charities as it becomes a cost on them. We work with the organisations to see if we can get evidence to prosecute those responsible and look at ways to deter it in future.”
Ms Sood says council is still picking up illegal dumping of any kind around Auckland under Alert Level 4.
“Dumping hurts communities and the environment at any time, and during lockdown it is further pressure on our essential workers. Each time we need to pick up rubbish in our public spaces it’s a financial cost on to everyone, because ratepayers end up footing the bill.”
Councillor Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, says dumping unwanted items outside charity shops takes money away from those who need it most. “This poor behaviour leaves the clean-up bill up to our charities who prefer to use every last cent to help support vulnerable communities. It is even worse during lockdown as it piles up and makes the job even harder leading to health and safety issues for essential workers and charity shop staff and volunteers.”
Anyone seeing illegal dumping of any kind should call 0800 NO DUMP (0800 663 867) 24/7.
- If you are tempted to reorganise the garage right now, you will have to keep any unwanted items on your property until the services that can take them open again.
- When that happens, remember that charity shops only want quality goods that they can re-sell. If you give a charity shop things they can’t sell, you are burdening them with the cost of getting rid of the rubbish.
- If items are potentially re-useable they should be stored somewhere clean and dry. When the shops start opening then re-useable items can be taken during opening hours only, to see if they are accepted for sale.