Dumped donations and rubbish in front of the Legacy bins near the Lifeline store in West High St.
Dumped donations and rubbish in front of the Legacy bins near the Lifeline store in West High St. Rachel Vercoe

Charity bins overflow with silly season excess

FOR some passers by, it was a metaphor for our silly season excess, as charity donation bins overflowed onto the streets near the West High St Lifeline.

Along with items that could have been resold at one of several op-shops in that area, there were piles of rubbish and kitchen waste left to rot in the steamy conditions.

Any items of value were soon picked through, spreading the mess further across the parking area.

The worst of the rubbish was located around the Legacy bins on the outside of the Lifeline fence.

Jennifer Clancy contacted the Advocate to express her disgust.

"It makes me sick - it makes me sad. I don't do Christmas, it disgusts me. I get sick to the stomach at the amount of money spent and all the waste."

"If I won Lotto I would pay to install security cameras there."

The overflow at the two bins directly in front of the new Lifeline store was not nearly as bad, largely due to the fact security cameras have been installed there to protect the volunteers who man their phone counselling service.

So it was left to Legacy volunteers to clean up the mess and spend limited funds on taking several truck loads to the tip.

Ira Theriac has been a Legatee for 10 years and is fed up with the dumping.

"I've been cleaning up since Christmas eve but the more I took away the more that kept coming in and it's mostly people's rubbish. We're volunteers and we give up our holiday time and many just can't physically do it any more."

He estimates that in tip fees alone over the Christmas/New Year period the organisation has had to cough up around $5,000.

With the nearby Vinnies op-shop removing their donation bins in the lead up to Christmas the Legacy bins copped the worst of it. Legacy bins at Korora and the Lyster St carpark were removed during the year and consideration is being given to removing their bins near Lifeline.


carpark behind vinnies , in Scarba Street
The charity bins at the St Vincent de Paul op-shop in Scarba St were removed before Christmas. TREVOR VEALE

Robin Osborne from St Vincent de Paul Society's North Coast district says that in addition to removing bins from their Scarba St store in Coffs, many of their bins have been removed from towns across the region including Ballina, Byron Bay, Lizmore, Port Macquarie, Laurieton and Wauchope due to dumping and theft.

"At one bin in Ballina we had a lot of theft - we actually had people lowering children into the bins to retrieve items. Then there was the dumping and people going through it and scattering it all around and for our mostly elderly volunteers it was a very unpleasant task and a bit much to ask of them to keep cleaning it up.

"The removal of our bins at the Scarba Street store in Coffs has had a very positive impact firstly on the littering situation and secondly on the pilfering of quality goods to be sold to generate funds for our various community support programs."

"It's also had a very good impact on volunteers who haven't had to deal with the mess that was starting to emerge down there. Now the majority of people bring their goods in during the opening hours of the shop and it's all going really well."