Charity shops have said they may be forced to close because of a change in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) policy on disposing of their waste.
Trade body the Charity Retail Association (CRA) said it feared its members would close shops in the conurbation after the authority restricted free tipping, a move it said arguably broke Government regulations.
The CRA said that from 1 April charities would be charged commercial rates to dispose of their waste after using up an allowance of 12 free visits a year.
It called this “short-sighted and discriminatory” because charity shops reuse or recycle 330,000 tonnes of textiles and save councils around £27m in landfill tax.
Materials disposed of by charity shops were, in effect, household waste, the CRA argued, because they had been donated by members of the public.
The CRA also aid the policy contravened the Controlled Waste Regulations 2012, which it said allowed charities to dispose for free waste arising from household donations.
Chief executive Robin Osterley said: “We are calling on the combined authority to reverse this decision.
“Shop closures not only affect jobs and the ability of our members’ charities to raise money for good causes, but will also have a negative environmental effect and increase the amount of goods going into landfill – ironically costing the local authority more in landfill tax.”
The GMCA said in a statement that it was updating the terms and conditions of its charity permit scheme “to encourage charities to separate their waste correctly so that it can be recycled”.
It said data showed 12 free trips were sufficient because charities that did separate their waste correctly for recycling would not have to pay for any additional tips.
It said the change had been made “to combat rising costs of waste disposal as some charities are not separating their waste to allow us to recycle it”.
The new policy was “entirely in keeping with the relevant regulations”, it added.