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A new environmental crime: Charity fly-tipping

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There’s a new environmental crime to watch out for.

We’re well used to the existing crime of fly-tipping where companies trying to avoid the landfill tax, or paying for specialist waste removal simply dump their rubbish on other people’s property. It’s anti-social behaviour that costs taxpayers millions of pounds every year.

If only these criminals took a look at what they’re doing, they might realise that commercial waste collections are far cheaper than they think, even with the landfill tax to tackle.

However, it’s latest – virtually domestic – cousin is becoming an issue, and the behaviour is just as anti-social. It’s charity fly-tipping.

One recent report in the Ipswich Star newspaper says that an Age UK shop in Stowmarket was unable to open their door for hours, thanks to the bags of rubbish piled up outside.

Saying that the problem was getting worse, shop manager Elaine Hodgson told the paper: “It was very dangerous for our staff, as we did not know what is in each bag and box. It was frustrating that we could not move the litter and had to wait for the local council to arrive and remove it.”

And here’s the problem – fly-tippers may be dumping their rubbish outside charity sops thinking that they might be able to accept at least some of the contents. The truth of the matter is that fly-tipped rubbish outside shops can only be treated as general waste, because the shop staff just don’t know what dangers lurk inside. Many charity shops will not accept any bagged contributions left outside their shops for this reason alone, especially if they’ve spent a night – or a whole weekend – out in the rain.

Further afield, a hospice charity in Wiltshire was in the news after complaining of the “highly dangerous” dumping of furniture and assorted rubbish outside their store.

Hugh Morrison of the Dorothy House Hospice charity told the Wiltshire Times: “None of the items were saleable; some items were covered in mud and were clearly not a donation. This fly-tipping happens on a regular basis but this was by far the worst example.”

As the problem of big-hearted fly-tippers get worse, don’t contribute to the problem. Charities love donations through the proper channels – either in person, or through recycling points found in any town.

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