Christmas cast-offs: Canberrans dump new clothes, presents after Boxing Day

Unwanted Christmas presents, designer shoes, new clothes ditched in the throes of post-Boxing Day regret; these are just some of the things that get dumped at Charlie Bigg-Wither's door every year.

The Canberran helps run the capital's largest recycling centre and thrift shop, the Green Shed. But even he was shocked when almost six tonnes of clothing were dumped over the weekend at just one of the organisation's drop off points in Mitchell.

Co-founder The Green shed Charlie Bigg-Wither has been inundated with donations of clothes over the Christmas period. The business gives them away for free.

Photo: karleen minney

Many of the abandoned fashions look brand-new, some sport well-known designer names like Veronika Maine.

Sandie Parkes, also a co-founder of the shop, even spotted a Michael Kors handbag, which retails for about $300 dollars, in "perfect condition".

Almost six tonnes of clothing were dumped over the weekend at just one of the Green Shed's drop-off points in Mitchell.

Photo: karleen minney

"And it wasn't a knock-off," she said.

While there was always a spike in donations after Christmas, the couple said this year seemed "particularly busy". Five or six cages of clothing were coming in every day full to the brim, Mr Bigg-Wither said.

And there were other drop-offs too.

"I've had people dump car-loads of Christmas presents from their mothers-in-law, brand new, still in their boxes," Mr Bigg-Wither said.

"We are a bit more affluent in Canberra but the waste is an indictment of society in general, I'd say.

"Everyone needs the latest iPod, everyone consumes."

Standing in the loading dock of the Green Shed, Mr Bigg-Wither weaves between furniture and appliances. A string of dead Christmas lights hang over a pair of shiny silver speakers.

He slaps a treadmill. "That was last year's New Year's resolution."

Not far away at the Salvation Army's Mitchell store, staff also reported donations spiking after Christmas, with "top quality" clothes brought in, some still with their tags on.

Fortunately, a spokesman for the RSPCA ACT had some good news to offer: fewer and fewer animals given as Christmas gifts were now being abandoned in the territory.

"There hasn't been anything out of the ordinary in terms of animals being abandoned or surrendered at the moment," he said.

"People have become a lot better at gifting animals responsibly and checking in with the person first."

Since opening in 2010, the Green Shed has offered its clothing donations for free and is now a hot-spot for local charities such as housing support groups and women's shelters.

Mr Bigg-Wither said they would be giving away toys for free as well over January, due to the donation surge.

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