e-News March - April 2017


As March drew to a close the nation's attention turned to the progress of Cyclone Debbie and the shocking floods that followed devastating many communities in Queensland and northern NSW.
Fortunately charity op shops and their warehouses appear to have escaped relatively unscathed, with the people of Rockhampton still bracing themselves for massive flooding of the Fitzroy River.  To date, t he cluster of charity op shops in and near Magellan St Lismore appear to have been hardest hit.

Sharon Sawyer, Retail Manager for Lifeline Northern Rivers based in Lismore said that while water flooded
Lifeline Noirthern Rivers cleanup after floods
Staff clean-up after flood waters went through the Lismore Lifeline Northern Rivers op shop.
to within 60cm of the roof of the Magellan St Lismore Op Shop, they were feeling lucky that only one shop was damaged in the floods.  "We were very fortunate the warehouse was spared so that Lifeline Northern Rivers can still receive donations. The city was evacuated and closed down, so we couldn't do anything as the waters rose," Sharon said. 
"The damage from the floods is devastating for the community. The ramifications (financially and emotionally) will be felt for many months to come. I feel fortunate to be part of an organization that can help the community through the recovery." 

Vinnies shops in the Whitsundays townships of Bowen, Proserpine and Airlie Beach withstood the 240+kph winds with no significant damage to stock but remain closed as they wait for the electricity supply to be reinstated, the St Vincent De Paul Queensland's Whitsunday's retail coordinator, Jonathan Hall said.

He expects the Bowen and Proserpine shops to have power by the end of the week with Airlie to follow by mid-April. "Airlie had damage to flashing on the roof which let water in but there was no significant damage to stock.  It is not safe for staff and volunteers to be working in the shops without power and many of our people have their own personal circumstances to look after - that has to be the priority."

Cyclone blows donation bin 100 metres

Jonathan said one of the most interesting tasks has been locating the donation bins that were thrown about in the cyclone. "At Airlie one bin was thrown 100 meters into a paddock and it was half full and would have weighed 500 to 600 kilos," he said.
Cyclone Debbie blew this Vinnies bin 100m into a paddock at Airlie Beach.
Cyclone Debbie blew this Vinnies bin 100m into a paddock at Airlie Beach.

Sandy Thorn, Multi Retail Centre Coordinator for Vinnies Mackay in Queensland, said staff at the city's two op shops and the warehouse had done a tremendous job preparing for the cyclone and while the "horizontal rain found nooks and crannies to get into buildings" there was very little damage.  "We were protected from flooding by the high river bank and therefore very lucky compared with the inundation to eastern Mackay and the inland rural areas west and south of Mackay that were hit by walls of water. I can't imagine what it would be like for those small communities."

Neville Barrett Salvos Stores NSW and Qld said a survey of opshops from Cairns to Albury found while there had been some reports of leaking in the heavy rains, there had been no significant loss of stock. "We have already started to assist with the recovery in Brisbane, Mackay and Townsville with clothing and food vouchers for people hard hit by the cyclone and floods."
The Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has provided $250,000 each to the Australian Red Cross Society, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society of Queensland and UnitingCare Community to assist the charities to provide emergency relief and assist people to return to their normal lives. 

Each charity op shop representative  we spoke to mentioned the rewards of being part of organisations that played a meaningful role in providing assistance to people in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and  the longer term recovery as people rebuild their lives. 
See below for more news on matters relevant to the charitable recycling sector.   I hope you enjoy reading this enews and welcome your contributions and feedback.  

Kind regards
Kerryn Caulfield 
Chief Executive Officer, NACRO    Top
In this issue (click on title)
WA Charitable Recyclers Rebate - applications due
Sustainable style versus fast fashion debate gains momentum
Brisbane dumpers fined $30,000
Knowing your art pays off
WA's Charitable Recyclers Rebate (CRR) program - applications due for Period 1, 2017 
Western Australia's Department of Environment Protection has issued a reminder that applications for rebates for waste disposal costs incurred in Period 1  (January - March 2017)  close on 28 April 2017. 

The rebate is the result of work by NACRO Western Australia led by John Knowles, CEO of Good Samaritan Industries highlighting the challenges of increasing waste  dumped on charitable recyclers  and the impact of government policy to increase the landfill levy. 

The department's Waste Authority Services encourages charitable recyclers keen to claim rebates for Period 1, 2017 to submit their forms by Friday 21st April 2017. 
Application / claim forms and guidelines are available on the waste authority website here ... 

Applications,  supported by evidence of incurred disposal costs,  need to be submitted through the Authority's website portal at this link ...  

To discuss levy calculations, or what is required from your waste service provider, please call the CRR Programs Manager Andrew on 08 6467 5391.

Sustainable style versus fast fashion discussion gains momentum
Conversations in Australia about fast fashion and its impact on society are gaining momentum providing NACRO with a platform to highlight the role of the charitable recycling sector as part of the solution and NOT generators of waste (the slant from the ill-informed in some conversations).  

This point is well-made by fashion opinion leaders in 
recent discussions in the media:

On ABC Lateline on 27 March 2017,  Jeremy Fernandez spoke to journalist and author Clare Press and designer Clara Vuletich about the rise of fast fashion globally, and its far-reaching consequences including the problem of low-quality clothing donations made to op shops.  You can read the transcript here ...

Journalist, author and strong advocate for sustainable fashion Clare Press followed this interview up with an article in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled  Sustainable Style: What happens to the clothes you donate to opshops?   You can read Clare's full article at this link ...

To demonstrate the scale of the waste generated from fast fashion for his three part documentary  War onWaste , journalist Craig Reucassel and his producers dumped a massive pile of waste clothing in the middle of Martin Place in Sydney (see Instagram image at right). 

NACRO had the opportunity to brief producers on the issues for charity op shops and with charity retailers featured in the documentary we trust this program will prompt consumers to think about what they are buying and  to be aware of the impact of dumping the poor quality item of clothing on their local charity op shop when it is no longer fit to wear!

Australia's Fashion Revolution Week

The sustainable fashion movement led by the UK initiative Fashion Revolution has a presence in Australia with the local committee hosting a series of events this month to promote awareness of the issues around fast fashion. 
Events with designers and commentators will be held from 24 to 30 April 2017.  For details visit the Fashion Revolution Facebook page here ...   

Dumpers at Brisbane charity bins fined more than $30,000
MORE than 100 dumpers have been fined more than $30,000 for leaving unusable donations at charity bins despite signs and CCTV monitoring.

Brisbane City Councillor Ryan Murphy said  there was a nearby Link Vision, formerly Aid for the Blind, op shop where people could drop off donations that did not fit in the bins or they could call the charity to arrange a pick up.

"Then there are some people who are donating things that very clearly would have no use to anyone. We're happy to throw the book at those people," he said.

The bins were recently moved from from the Monte Carlo Caravan Park to the front of Cr Murphy's ward office in Cannon Hill to try to stem the dumping problem. 

Link Vision chief executive officer Terry O'Neill said the Cannon Hill bins provided about 20 per cent of the charity's income and the situation had improved since the move.

Read the full report here ...  
Knowing your art pays off for charity shop
A painting dropped into  the donation bin in a small town in Ontario state Canada has proven to be a windfall for the local charity thanks to a volunteer with a keen eye for art. 

They identified the painting as the work of one of Canada's most famous folk artists - Maude Lewis. 
Several independent art experts have confirmed the province of the painting and expect it to raise between CAD$10,000 and $16,000  for  the Mennonite Central Committee Thrift Center, in New Hamburg, a small town about two hours west of Toronto.