National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) WA representative Anna Presser said people may not be aware that some of the bins in Perth were not collecting for charities because only a small sticker identified them as a commercial operator.
‘We do not know the exact figure, however we estimate that about 30 per cent of bins that you see are run by commercial operators,’ Ms Presser said.
‘Commercial bins usually have a very small sticker that states they are a commercial operator.’
Neither the Department of Commerce, the Department of Environmental Regulation nor the Waste Authority track the number of collection bins in WA.
Department of Commerce manager of charities and associations Will Morgan said the department introduced the requirement two years ago for commercially operated bins to be identified as such by a sticker after operators in the charity sector expressed concern people could be misled.
‘The concern was when it was placed next to charity bins and gave an impression (of collecting for charity), which we felt was a false impression,’ Mr Morgan said.
‘It was our view that the public were just making an assumption it was a charity bin and we didn’t like that situation so we felt it was important for the business to identify it was a commercial operation.
Mr Morgan said the collection and sale of secondhand goods was a ‘legitimate business’, but it was also important that the public were clear where their donations were going.
Ms Presser said charities relied on donated goods to on-sell to raise funds, but commercial operators meant they often missed out.
Ms Presser said people should read the signs on collection bins to ensure the organisation was a reputable charity or to look for the NACRO sticker.
‘There is also a WA group of charities working on a logo to put on their bins to identify them as bona fide charities,’ she said.