Charity shops could bear the brunt of 'waste mountain'

Government plans to allow local authorities to charge for collecting excess household rubbish could lead to charity shops becoming dumping grounds for unwanted junk, the Association of Charity Shops has warned.

The group submitted its concerns as part of the Government’s consultation on its Climate Change Bill, of which the waste collection measures form a part.

The association’s submission says the measures would encourage “fly-tipping by stealth” under the guise of giving to charity, resulting in a “waste mountain” that charities would have to sort through and pay to dispose of. It also warns that the reputations of charities could be damaged if rubbish was allowed to pile up outside their shops.

David Moir, head of policy and public affairs at the association, stressed that the proposals were still a long way from being enshrined in law. He said: “It’s a real concern, but not an urgent one.”

Meanwhile, the association has continued its name-and-shame campaign against local authorities that charge charity shops for waste disposal, despite the fact that charity shop waste is classed as household waste and is therefore exempt from disposal charges.

Moir said charity shops in the Essex towns of Braintree, Colchester, Uttlesford and Chelmsford were being overcharged for waste collection. He said at least one of the district councils in question had told the association that it was being forced to implement the excess charges because Essex County Council, the disposal authority, insisted on charging for disposal.

“Essex County Council has been promising for six months to produce a policy paper on this, but we are still no closer to getting a statement from them,” he said. “In the meantime, charity shops are being fleeced. This is disgraceful”.

Moir said similar name-and-shame campaigns against Birmingham, Norwich and various Hampshire councils in September had had a good success rate, with Norwich City Council promising to review its policy and Southampton City Council dropping the charges.

“It turned out that Birmingham City Council had already changed its policy but had neglected to tell any charity shops, which is absolutely astonishing,” he said.

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