One man’s trash is not always another man’s treasure – sometimes it really is rubbish. The often-genuine desire to reduce landfill and give others a helping hand can result in cases of illegal dumping on footpaths or beside charity bins around towns.
Litter Ambassador Gavin McPhee, Assistant General Manager at Reuse & Recycle Group Inc said the initial sorting of items that are no longer required needs to occur before items are left at charity collection points. He said the volunteers at charity shops should not have to sort through mixed bags of items to recover a few useful items. Rubbish dumped at charity bins also imposes an unfair cost on that organisation to dispose of other people’s rubbish properly — and that’s simply not fair.
“To extend the useful life of an item it needs to be delivered to the right place,” he said. “Things that can be used by another person such as second-hand clothes, crockery and furniture need to be complete and in good condition to be given to a charity outlet.”
“Putting clean, useful items in the same bag as rubbish renders the whole lot useless,” he said. “If you are making a charitable gift to someone, make sure it is in a condition that another person can use it for the original purpose.”
Items that are broken are often still valuable for parts or they might find a new lease of life with a whole new purpose. Mr McPhee said customers often come to the Reuse and Recycle Market Sales Centres looking for spare parts like a replacement bicycle tyre or for re-purposing projects like using a bath tub as a fish pond.
“The final stage in the recycling process is to recover valuable resources from items that have no other use,” he said. “For example, we strip down whitegoods to recover the scrap metal components and reclaim harmful gasses like refrigerant for proper disposal. We also sort waste materials from building sites to recover and re-sell timber, glass, bricks and tiles along with second-hand benchtops, cabinets, sinks, toilets and the like.”
The set-up at Reuse & Recycle Group depot at Nikenbah is very streamlined and designed to make it as easy as possible for residents to recycle as much as possible. When bringing a load to the depot, Mr McPhee suggested that people sort their load to make it cheaper and as easy as possible to simply drive through and drop off items at the designated areas, including items for repurposing through the market centre, cardboard, glass, chemicals, oils, metals and plastics.
Mr McPhee said the steady stream of people coming to the Market Centre every day looking for useful items is testimony to how much people value recycling. This is a double benefit with unwanted items from one household finding a new home and saving customers money and also keeping valuable resources out of landfill, he said. The Reuse & Recycle Group generates over $50,000 per year to invest in community projects in the Fraser Coast region, and employs 35 staff members.
If you see rubbish being dumped at charity drop-off points, you can report the incident to Fraser Coast Regional Council.
The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.
For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.