By CRAIG McTEAR
SHIRLEY McMullen often wonders if all the frustration is really worth it.
The St Vincent de Paul Society regional president is exasperated with people continually dumping rubbish and unsuitable goods outside her six charity centres and numerous clothing bins instead of using the tip.
And then there's the constant vandalism to property, not to mention the grubs who smear faeces across their buildings and leave garbage strewn everywhere.
Mrs McMullen wonders whether the rubbish dumping, which has been on the rise for 18 months and has become even worse since September, corresponds with a hike in fees at Coffs Harbour City Council's Englands Road Waste Depot.
Or is it simply a symptom of our throwaway society and a no-care attitude.
"Something has got to be done. It can't continue," she said.
"I know of cases where some people who, when they leave a place, walk out and dump what they don't want on the street."
She says the city council has often taken away items which are too big for the St Vincent de Paul Society to get rid of themselves, such as huge mattresses which won't fit into their van.
The dumping of old lounges and fridges, even greenwaste and other rubbish outside the charity's three clothing bins at Toormina Gardens Shopping Centre has become so chronic those bins have now been moved away.
"Our volunteers have to take this stuff to the tip. It's just not on. It takes too much time," Mrs McMullen said.
"Our people are not supposed to be lifting furniture.
"That's not what our little van is for. It's needed to collect clothes.
"Volunteers have often done tip runs on Saturdays and Sundays. They're not paid, and they're not supposed to be working weekends."
Mrs McMullen said all charities needed to have a big think about their strategy on clothing bins, with some organisations on the North Coast already pulling their's out.
But the big downside to that would be a drop in donated items because people had become accustomed to using them, particularly after business hours when charity stores were closed.