DIRTY HABIT: Dumping at donation sites costs $250,000
ELI Waters residents, charity volunteers and the council have been left shaking their heads as illegal dumping continues despite 15 fines issued to offenders in the past 13 months.
The behaviour not only leaves an "eyesore" in the Hervey Bay community but a substantial hole in the pocket of ratepayers as clean-ups cost more than $250,000.
Local Karla Macpherson slammed those who left rubbish next to Hervey Bay Endeavour Foundation's charity bins on Lake View Crt.
"I live just around the corner and it happens all the time," Ms Macpherson said.
"At night people scavenge through the things and it ends up strewn everywhere."
Councillor David Lewis said five of the fines were issued in December and four in January in a bid to crack down.
"In some cases the fines were issued after (the) council reviewed CCTV footage of people dumping rubbish at charity bins and others were issued after officers sifted through rubbish dumped by roadsides," Cr Lewis said.
"The program is aimed at changing behaviour; to reinforce the message that it is not OK to dump rubbish beside the road or at charity bins."
Cameras used to monitor illegal dumping hot spots will be upgraded to improve night vision and clarity of registration plates.
"Last year there were 14 calls covering a wide range of items," Cr Lewis said.
"One caller reported a damaged inflatable dingy that had washed up in Scarness. Others reported boxes and trailer- loads of rubbish and household items dumped on roadsides."
Illegally dumped rubbish, including cars and building waste such as asbestos, across the region is estimated to cost the council more than $250,000 which includes compliance staff time to investigate an incident, waste collection and disposal fees, equipment and vehicles and in some cases hiring trucks and bobcats.
"With tyres Council has to pay the cost of freight to the recycling centre in Ipswich and recycling: that's $18.35 for a four wheel drive/light commercial vehicle tyre and $7.15 for a passenger vehicle tyre," Cr Lewis explained.
"Normally the tyre shop pays the freight bill as the cost is included in the price of a new set of tyres, or if they are taken to a transfer station, the tyres owner pays for the recycling.
"It is frustrating that much of the rubbish is dumped in bushland close to the waste management sites. And much of it could be recycled or disposed of for free.
"Bulky furniture (excluding mattresses) that is in good or saleable condition can be dropped off at any Council waste management facilities at no charge.
"Similarly, all electrical equipment working or not can be disposed of at no charge, as well as steel, green waste (up to 4 cubic metres or one tonne), paper, cardboard, oil up to 20 litres, identified chemicals up to 20 litres, and paint.
"And if your load is sorted and contains 75 per cent reusable or recyclable items then you can dispose of it for free at our waste management facilities.
"Council also offers a storm season clean, a weekend in November every year at which waste can be taken to any Council waste management facility for free."
An Endeavour Foundation spokesman said the organisation was working with the council to reduce illegal dumping.
"It is disappointing that a small number of people don't observe the regulations the council has put in place for everyone's safety," he said.
"We know that 90 per cent of people who donate want to do the right thing and bring new life to their pre-loved items by donating them to a good cause and it's really a small number of people who are causing a problem.
"We'd ask people to respect the time and efforts of our volunteers and staff who have to regularly clean up dumped donations."
Lifeline and Vinnies op shops confirmed they also faced the problem.
St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland executive officer northern Stuart Roche said people do leave items in front of bins and shops outside opening hours.
"Many don't realise their donation often goes to waste this way and that it costs Vinnies money to remove them once they're spoiled," he said.
"We always endeavour to recover items left outside our donation bins, however sometimes the weather, contamination or theft prevents this.
"Anything that is soiled or damaged in anyway is of no use and only costs Vinnies to throw away."
A Lifeline Queensland spokeswoman said typically there is an increase of donations to clothing bins and stores at the start of each year as people prepare for the year ahead.
"While the majority of donations are made correctly, unfortunately we do have instances of rubbish dumping at our bins which costs Lifeline financially.
"Anything that is broken or outside of our charity bins is considered contaminated and we are unable to use it in our Lifeline retail stores and on top of that we then have to have it removed."
Report illegal dumping to the council office 24-hours a day, seven days a week on 1300 79 49 29 or the state government Litter and Illegal Dumping Unit on 13 74 68 or by email email@example.com.