Charity shops and waste charges: an update

As previously reported on this blog, a campaign priority of ours is ensuring that charity shops can dispose of the small percentage of donations they receive that are unsellable for free as domestic waste.

We have received assured legal guidance that this kind of charity waste should be treated as domestic waste and should not be eligible for charging.

Despite this, our research has found that many local authorities across Great Britain charge charity shops in some way for disposal of domestic waste. We have provided members with a campaign pack for use when they wish to challenge this problem locally, and are also pursuing change at a national level.

As part of this national action, last Monday (24 June), we led a delegation of charity retailers meeting with government officials and representatives of local government, which was held at Nobel House in Westminster, DEFRA’s headquarters.

We made it clear that this kind of waste is domestic waste and should not incur charges when taken down to a household recycling centre. We also emphasised that charity retailers are cooperative people who want to help the environment, and to this end we will work with councils to ensure that this privilege is not abused, for example by making drop offs at quieter times and separating out recyclable materials from general waste.

Recognition of these rights and responsibilities is a great starting point for negotiations around reasonable use policies between charity shops and waste disposal authorities.  This is what we will now seek to produce in further meetings over the coming months. 

Matt Kelcher
Head of Public Affairs
Charity Retail Association