They both make a living from Bendigo’s unwanted goods, but staff at recycling centres and opportunity shops around the city are divided on the topic of hard rubbish collection.
Eaglehawk Recycle Shop manager Peter Buck said instead of being thrown into landfill, donated goods could be given a second lease on life at his recovery yard.
For 23 years, the recycling site has taken building materials, garden products, furniture, white goods, bicycles, paints and car parts off Bendigonians’ hands, objects that could cost as much as $165 per tonne to leave at the city’s landfill.
By salvaging the goods, Mr Buck estimated his service saved the public $1.4 million in tip fees each year and extended the lifespan of landfill sites.
“People know it is good for the environment because these products are not rotting in the ground creating greenhouse gases,” he said.
Fourteen staff were employed at the Eaglehawk shop and he implored residents to support similar services that kept locals in work.
But Lyn Hubber, who manages the Salvation Army Thrift Shop on Eaglehawk Road, said a council kerbside collection would decrease the amount of unwanted goods dumped outside her store.
She described the amount of donations as “just incredible”, particularly around Christmas and New Year when people made room for new purchases.
But many of the donations were broken or soiled, she said, and the charity was left to foot the disposal bill.
“Sometimes an entire day’s takings, the money the ladies have worked hard making, goes towards tip fees,” Ms Hubber said.
Even the Eaglehawk Recycling shop, which handpicked the items it claimed, paid $15,000 in landfill fees each year.
Pressure on charities increased when councils moved away from annual ‘tip passes’, vouchers that gave residents free access to their area’s landfill, Ms Hubber said.
The op shop manager believed a hard rubbish collection would not deter community members from giving to charity, and would instead mean items in a poor condition were not left outside her store.
In the meantime, residents could request the Salvation Army pick up unwanted goods, a service the charity provided free of charge.
Debate about the merits of a kerbside collection process follow a warning from the City of Greater Bendigo that leaving waste on nature strips constitutes littering and was punishable by fines of up to $311 – even if the goods were free for others to claim. Councillors Margaret O’Rourke and both said this week it was time for a conversation about roadside rubbish pick-ups.