Bags left next to recycling banks will be treated as fly-tipping and rubbish.

Dorset Council is asking residents who are looking to donate items such as clothing using a recycling bank in a car park to keep hold of them until the current pandemic has passed.

Many have taken the opportunity during the lockdown period to clear out their wardrobes, hoping to donate their unwanted clothing to charity. Others have continued to gather up their cartons, foil and small electrical items to take to a recycling bank in a car park.

However, most recycling banks in Dorset Council car parks are not being emptied as they rely on volunteers and services that have been suspended due the coronavirus.

Despite this, some people have taken items to the car parks and left them in bags outside closed recycling banks. This is considered fly-tipping and the contents will most likely be spoiled and unfit to be donated or recycled, ending up as regular rubbish.

In Bridport, a number of bags were left by the recycling banks in Co-op car park on Sea Road North.

Most of the bags being left behind contain clothing.

The Salvation Army, who service Dorset Council’s clothing banks in car parks, said: “While we are grateful for donations, we ask that people refrain from leaving bags of donations next to clothing bank and outside charity shops as lockdown restrictions mean they cannot be collected and they will instead be sent to landfill sites.

“Losing these donations to landfill will cost the charity thousands in lost stock as well as being an environmental disaster.

“Money raised from textile reuse and recycling benefits us as well as many national and local community-based charities.

“Our Lifehouses (homeless hostels) and food banks are just some of the vital services supporting people hardest hit by the coronavirus.”

If you have items that you would usually take to a recycling bank in a car park, please wait until the banks are being emptied again.

As volunteer, staff and resource levels return to normal, Dorset Council will ensure all recycling banks are opened back up and make an announcement.

Cllr Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for customer, community and regulatory services, said: “We appreciate the enthusiasm of Dorset residents to recycle clothing that they no longer need. But dumping it on the ground by the side of a recycling bank or outside a charity shop is fly-tipping and this clothing is more likely to end up being treated like household rubbish rather than be recycled.

“We ask everyone to be patient and hold on to their clothing and other items until the containers are ready to be serviced again.”