Clothing collection plan stirs debate

Goods dumped at a local charity clothing bin site.
Goods dumped at a local charity clothing bin site.

COMMUNITY clothing collection days could be held in the City of Joondalup for residents wanting to donate items to charities.

It is one option Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard is considering to find more effective ways of collecting unwanted clothes following the council’s decision last month to ban charity clothing bins on City-owned land.

The collection days would be similar to the City’s e-waste collection events, which are held quarterly at Craigie Leisure Centre.

Mr Pickard said the City would work with local charities to find more contemporary ways to collect unwanted clothing.

“We will meet with charities to talk about using our facilities to hold occasional collection days at sites across the City,” he said.

“This would not only provide an opportunity for the City and the charities to promote the importance of donating clothing but also allow charity organisations to save costs and direct this towards other important services they deliver in our community.”

Members of the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations are unsure if the collection days would be enough to replace the 76 charity bins to be removed from public land.

ParaQuad Industries/Spine and Limb Foundation manager Joe Tuson said he received a phone call yesterday from Mr Pickard to “announce the decision to make facilities available on a periodic basis, possibly quarterly, for residents of Joondalup to bring donations to a central point”.

“He indicated he had already spoken to the big charities and all were on board,” Mr Tuson said.

Good Samaritan Industries divisional manager Debbie Cameron said she had received an email early yesterday morning but had not spoken to Mr Pickard.

Mr Tuson said he had concerns about the idea of having quarterly collection days but it was a good start to the consultation process. He said the Spine and Limb Foundation collected 16 tonnes of donations each month from bins on public land and 27 tonnes from all bins in the City.

He said having a collection every three months would “overwhelm everybody” with the potential for 75 tonnes of donations if no bins were available at all.

“How would you get the vehicles into the facility to pick up 75 tonnes? A truck only holds about 2.5 tonnes so that’s a lot of trucks,” he said.

“And people will have to store the clothes at home for three months and while some might do that, a lot of others will say it’s too hard and throw it in their waste bin.

“People don’t appreciate the scale of what goes on with the donations. It’s a big operation and we’d be having to try to sort and store 75 tonnes of donations.

“I haven’t seen the details so it’s hard to say and I’m only speculating but these are my kneejerk concerns. The logistics are hard to envisage.”

Though collection bins will remain on private property in the City, Ms Cameron said they would not be enough to meet community need even with quarterly collection events.

“Removing bins on public land will halve the number of donation stations we have. These are full every week so it won’t meet community needs and will reduce the ease of donating and items are more likely to go to landfill which we want to avoid,” she said.

She said as most carparks in shopping centres were required for customers, she did not think charities would get many more bins on private land.

“It’s not reasonable to expect a private operator to pick up the slack from a local government decision,” she said.

“We still believe the decision to ban bins on public land is wrong and the impact to us will be significant.”

Mr Tuson and Ms Cameron said they would have preferred to be consulted before the decision to ban the bins was made but would meet City officers if a meeting was arranged.