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Charity shops are "not a dumping ground" for rubbish

Charity shops are

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Charity shops are "not a dumping ground" for rubbish

Wednesday 19 September 2018

One of the main concerns surrounding the new waste strategy was the potential for people to refuse to pay the new charges and fly tip their waste - and local charity shops have reported they are already feeling the brunt of the changes.

Whether it be bags of old toys and clothes all in a "disgusting condition", unusable furniture or items that are simply rubbish, the thrift stores have found in recent times people are increasingly leaving things outside of their premises over night, or when they are not wanted.

And while it sometimes is either with the intention of, or under the guise of, being good willed, if items that the shops cannot sell are let there, they are left to bear the cost of having them tipped - something charity shops can rarely easily afford.

waste longue hougue

Pictured: The Longue Hougue Waste Management Facility just before its completion. Now people have to take anything they need tipped to the yard next to the facility. The new Waste Strategy kicked off at the start of this month. 

Sarah Bamford, Chairperson of GO and the GO Charity Shop, said the amount of people leaving things in their carpark or on their doorstep had dramatically increased since the new waste strategy kicked off. And despite being a "big supporter" of the new waste strategy, her fear was that when the States started charging for black bin sacks in January, things would only get worse. 

"The has definitely been a noticeable increase in the amount of things left on the doorstep, and a lot of stuff that is totally unusable. We are very grateful to people who donate things to us, but 90% of this - things being left here without anyone saying anything - is fly tipping," she said.

"It is stuff that is not suitable for sale and then we have to pay to get rid of it - it is just being dumped here."

GO, along with all of the other island charity shops, is operating to raise money to support both the people of Guernsey or people from around the world. Ms Bamford said when they had to then spend their money on dumping other people's rubbish it totally defeated the point.

"A few weeks ago is a good example - we had to have the fire brigade round because a pile of rubbish had been left in the middle of the carpark that was a major fire risk. But it varies, we have had a disgusting sofa, all sorts of furniture, mixed bags of old things, mattresses.. we really do appreciate all donations, you name it, we want it, but it has to be of good quality, and these people are leaving things when they know we are not open. We really think it is fly tipping."

Sara King is the founder of the Donate charity shop, which raises money for a multitude of charities. She has installed CCTV on the front her shop and has signs explicitly warning people against fly tipping their waste out the front, but she knows that is a luxury not all of the stores can afford.

"We have had people dump things, but we have these cameras so they are a big deterrent," she said.

"When it happens though, we have to pay for it to get disposed of. The change at the reclamation site has only made it worse as well. I do think people are trying to do good by donating things to us, but sometimes things just really aren't great and there is nothing we can do with them. I have a sign up saying 'no leaving items outside under any circumstances' just to avoid this." 

While CCTV is one solution to the problem, Ms Bamford from the GO store also said she felt there needed to be a "very, very harsh fine" in place to punish fly tippers to act as a good deterrent. She hoped as the waste strategy moves forwards, it is properly policed to ensure the fly tipping problems they are facing now do not get worse. 

The Salvation Army charity shop was one of those less affected by the dumping, but Sue Le Poidevin, its manager, said they were still very watchful of the issue.

"We dont have a front so I do think other places are more affected than us, but it is something we are paying close attention to incase it starts happening," she said.

"If it starts the only option we are going to have is to pay to get rid of it ourselves." 

Pictured top: Donate charity shop, The Salvation Army charity shop, the Cancer Research UK charity shop and GO charity shop, and inset, Donate's sign warning against fly tipping.


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