How To Stop Charity Bags
If you wish to stop receiving charity bags then put up a sign like this.
Do you get a constant stream of charity bags through you letter box and want to stop them?
Few people realise that since 2017 charities have been banned from putting clothing bags through your door if you display a sign clearly stating the words “no charity bags” or “no clothing bags”. The details are in the Fundraising Code of Practice.
Code 16 (10) (t) Fundraising Code of Practice states
Organisations operating house to house bag collections for charitable purposes
MUST NOT deliver bags to a property that displays a sticker or sign which includes
the words ‘no charity bags’, ‘no clothing bags’ or any other words which clearly
indicate that the householder does not wish to donate through this method.
However despite having a notice with the words no charity bags clearly displayed on the door we have still received the occasional bag.
Why is this such a big deal? Well we have a young Clumberdoodle dog called Archie who loves to get the post and bring it to us once the postman has been. However sometimes he gets to the post before we can supervise him and a large plastic sack will choke and possibly kill him before we can intervene.
If you want to know what to do if your dog eats a plastic bag click the link for more advice.
There is also the issue of plastic waste. These charity bags usually have an outer plastic wrapper containing a larger plastic sack inside – both totally non recyclable and thus a hazard to our environment.
So I have previously decided to do something to stop it. I have made a large notice situated directly above the letter box stating no charity bags. This has stopped a large majority of bags coming through the letter box. However recently they seem to have started up again.
On one recent occasion I saw the girl who pushed the bag through the door and challenged her whilst still on my drive way. I was surprised to find out she spoke no English and could not understand the points I was making to her. She had an Eastern European accent and alas I gave up and gave her the plastic bag back. I should have retained it and taken this up with the charity concerned.
Now on the 2nd January 2019 I had another charity bag pushed through the letter box whilst we were out with the dog and were able to recover it from the floor before he could!
This time it was on behalf of Kidney Research UK. Karen decided to email them and complain. She received a standard apology in reply. Karen decided to reply to this email pointing out what a bad reflection it was on the charity. She received a further apology and a request for suggestions as to how to improve the situation. I have copied the emails below:
In response to your request for suggestions, the Distributor should be fined for each complaint you receive such as mine and the proceeds of this fine could be directed towards your charity. You could also undertake appropriate training of Distributors especially with regard to understanding the consequences of ignoring a “no charity bag sign”.
I am also aware that the Distributing Companies often employ non English speaking staff. My Husband has even challenged one who could not speak English and therefore could not read the signage preventing her from committing this offence.
If the donation bag was changed to a paper based product which was totally recyclable then this would at least mitigate some of the risk to pets.
But the ultimate solution is to stop this type of bag collection altogether, as every High Street now seems to be only full of Charity Shops, which is how I personally donate clothing and bric a brac to charity.
Shortly after this Karen received the below email from the Director of Fundraising Kidney Research UK
Good morning Karen
Thank you for your emails, which Louise has forwarded on. I personally welcome your feedback and suggestions and I will forward them onto the Textile Recycling Association and the Fundraising Regulator (removing your name and contact details).
Thank you for raising this issue and I so sorry I can’t retrospectively change the situation. However, as explained I have terminated our contract for all clothing bag collections which will definitely prevent this occurring in the future. Indeed, we’ve already actioned your ‘ultimate solution’ from a Kidney Research UK perspective and, like you, hope other charities will follow suit.
I’m very happy to chat on the phone (xxxxxxxxxx) to apologise or explain further.
May I wish you a very enjoyable and ‘charity bag free’ 2019.
Director of Fundraising
Kidney Research UK
So I have to give credit where it is due to Kidney Research UK they do take these issues seriously and do act upon complaints.
I have now made a bigger sign and some images which may help with the language barrier and replaced my old sign above the letter box as you can see above.
Do make your own sign and D0 Complain as without taking action the charities are hiding behind the excuse the distributor is to be blamed. Complain to the Charity, the distributor and the Fundraising Regulator whose address is below if you want to make a change to these persistent bag collections
Fundraising Regulator 2nd Floor CAN Mezzanine Building 49-51 East Road, London N1 6AH 0300 999 3407 https://www.fundraisingregulator.org.uk/complaints
UPDATE September 2019
I have had my first charity bag through the door since January despite my clear signs to prevent them.
This time the charity was Leukaemia Care a blood cancer charity. Below is the email complaint I sent to the charity together with the reply. If you want this dangerous practice to stop then do complain as I now do.
“Organisations operating house to house bag collections for charitable purposes MUST NOT deliver bags to a property that displays a sticker or sign which includes the words ‘no charity bags’, ‘no clothing bags’ or any other words which clearly indicate that the householder does not wish to donate through this method.”
Dear Mr Freeman,
Thank you for sending me over both the stills and the video footage of a delivery agent posting a bag through the door, despite signage.
Leukaemia Care bag fundraising is handled by a third party company, East London Textiles (ELT). As part of our contract with ELT, ELT agree that their delivery agents will follow the fundraising code of practice.
As of 9th September 2019, we will no longer be engaging in this form of fundraising and therefore from this date, members of the public should no longer receive plastic bags from Leukaemia Care.
I have copied in Monica Izmajlowicz, who is the COO for the charity and this complaint will also be recorded formally on our records. My next stage will be to talk to the directors of ELT immediately and ask for a written explanation as to why this has happened to you.
I profusely apologise for this happening. Due to the contract coming to an end next week, nobody in your local area should receive any further bags from the company.
Once I have a reply from ELT themselves, I will update you.
Director of Communications and Fundraising
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2020
Yet another Charity bag through the letter box.
This time from breastcancerresearchaid.org.uk. I sent my usual complaint to them and below is their emailed response.
From: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: 13 February 2020 20:16
To: Steve Freeman <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Complaint Re Code 16 (10) (t) Fundraising Code of Practice
Dear Mr Freeman
The clothing collection manager informed me that the girl distributor
who delivered you a bag was sacked for negligence. I hope that you will
never receive our charity bags anymore. Yours sincerely. Lawrence
Sadly this does not address the issue of pollution these bags contribute to so I have sent a reply to them pointing this out and suggesting they give up this method of fundraising (I wonder if there is even any truth that the third party they employ to do these collections has even carried out the sacking). I could never donate to a charity that helps cause plastic waste.
The more of us who complain will put pressure on charities to stop this unnecessary method of plastic pollution and potential harm to pets. Do let me know in the comments below if you have ever complained and what result did you get?
Update July 2020.
Sign the petition to stop charity bags. Thanks to a reader Chris he has told me about the petition on the Government website. Click the link to sign the petition…..
Update – petition now closed
Mr r emptage says
If it’s illegal to post charity bag why o why are they still being put through my door
Hello, Thanks for leaving a comment. Please do put a sign on your door and then write and complain to the charity involved. This is the only way you will make a difference to the amount of charity bags in circulation.
My personal opinion would be that as householders we should not be expected to put up a sign, charity bags should be banned from home delivery. If people want a charity bag, they should be able to collect one free of charge from charity shops or even local shops, post offices etc. In today’s awareness of climate change, charities should be doing their bit to cut down plastic waste.
Thanks for leaving a comment. I agree it is about time these charities took the initiative themselves.
Good advise, thanks. We are receiving about one of these bags per day in York. Disgusting waste of plastic. I can easily walk a quarter of a mile to a charity drop-off bin with a few unwanted clothes. Going to stick a sign up, and make a complaint if they continue.
I would hate to guess how many of the bags end up in landfill in the UK each year, without even being used. Each bag will cost pennies but it adds up, The money raised from clothes I’ve donated over the years has probably gone to buying the bags!
Thank you for leaving your comments which I totally agree with.
Great article, thanks for putting it online, I’m also in York, constantly getting these through the door, despite a ‘no junk mail’ sign – guessing I need to make it more specific…
Thank you for leaving your comment. Yes it has to be the specific wording stated in the regulation for it to be effective when you come to complain to the charity concerned.
Sophie Flint says
Thank you this has been really helpful. I moved to my new house 2 weeks ago and we’ve had 8, yes EIGHT, through the door. I shall find or make a sign.
Thank you for leaving a comment. Please do put up a sign and please do complain when they come through the door. You can use my text as a template and replace the photos with your own. Once you have the template set up it is easy to send off and complain. The more we complain the more chance there is they will abandon this damaging method of fundraising.
I personally don’t think we should put signs up Littering our front doors for charities to ignore anyway and a policy enforced upon these Companies, sorry, charities to stop putting rubbish through our doors and anyone wishing to donate to request one for a drop off service
Thank you for your comments on my blog, yes it would be nice if charities were to operate in the way you suggest. Sadly they do not.I agree a sign on the front door is not pretty however until the law changes it is the only way to stop this antisocial behaviour that I have found that actually works. I have not had a bag through the door since February despite seeing the distributors at other houses in my street.
Thank you again for stopping by and leaving a comment.
I have rung numerous different bag telephone nos , the same woman answered each one , I tried to stop them due to having a puppy who was eating things I told the woman that if the fog did eat something I would be sending them the bill she assured me I would get no more bags , I did so I rand and asked were to send vet bill , she hung up on me and now my no appears to be blocked , the dog hadn’t eaten anything I was just desperate to stop them , but I feared it would as time went on , we even get them through the door at 7am .
Thank you for reading my post and leaving a comment. I know just how frustrating this can be. Please do complain in writing to each company and please do display a notice like the one I have. The more people who use this regulation and complain the more chance we have of getting this stopped. Regards. Steve
Thank you so much for putting this information on your website. Three queries if I may :-
Firstly where did you get the template for your door sign, or did you design it yourself?
(I intend to make them and give them to all my neighbour’s who want them).
Secondly, do you really have CCTV, and if you do how much did it cost to set it up?
Lastly, did you get all the relevant charities email address individually online, or is there a register available somewhere you can point me too.?
Again thank you, as an obsessively avid recycler, and like everyone else who has emailed you before me, it is such a huge relief to think there is some way of stopping this.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and leave your comment.
Re point 1. I did design it myself hence the crude look. I used a free web software called Canva, just visit http://www.canva.com and you can start creating something much better than my effort.
Re point 2. Yes I do have cctv and I did send the video recordings of the delivery each time to the charity concerned so there could be no dispute. Mine is a cheap system bought several years ago with 4 cameras costing about £250 which I installed myself. It has paid for itself as I captured a delivery lorry visiting next door one day as he demolished one of my trees. The driver denied it at first but once shown the video his company paid up to replace the tree!
Re point 3. On each charity bag should be an email address for the charity. I either used this or googled the charity concerned for contact details. There may be a register but I am not aware of one.
Thanks again and good luck in the fight against this pointless waste in our society
I also feel upset by the sheer volume of plastic waste that these bags generate.
If it is not possible to stop these plastic bags being delivered then perhaps the regulator should force them to have an address on them so that you can post them back to the organisation concerned so that they have to pay the postage.
The other thing that all your readers ought to be aware of is that there is a government petition to ‘Ban plastic charity bags being delivered to every household’ that they can sign at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300699/signatures/new.
Thank you for your comments. I agree the cost of return postage would make them stop and think. I was not aware of this petition which I have now signed – thank you. I shall add the link to the main body of the article.
Helen Atkinson says
Hi Steve – thank you for your information and advice on this subject. I was hoping to sign the petition but see it is now closed and appears only to have had 235 signatures. Surely it could garner more support than that. Help from Attenborough, perhaps? I’m desperate about stopping this ridiculous and irresponsible activity. I’m amazed it’s cost-effective for charities in the first place.
Best wishes, Helen
Thank you for your comments. I shall cancel the link to the petition in light of what you say. I am currently complaining to another charity at the moment after having another bag pushed through my door despite the sign. This time I challenged the distributor who could not read or speak English so had not a clue what the sign said or even what I was saying! As well as that covid 19 can stay on plastic for up to 7 days and he was not wearing gloves or face mask so I sanitised the letter box just in case. I am amazed these charities associate themselves with this method of fund raising.
Colin Craven says
Would it not be advisable to put up a notice that states “Implied right of access” has been removed for anyone attempting to deliver non addressed mail, this includes charity bags, leaflets, free newspapers etc. etc. in addition to your existing signs
As such anyone who delivers such materials is now in “Tort of Trespass”, writing to the companies concerned making them aware of their “error of Judgement” and confirming they are trespassing should be enough to make them back down as any continuation of delivery materials to you can be punished through the courts with fines in excess of £1000 being issued. I actually enjoy rattling cages in this manner. I have even had local takeaway [Nepalese] offering me free food up to £100 in value as an apology [which i have never accepted]
Removal of an implied right of access is a whole different area especially with the threat of prosecution for a “Tort Of Trespass”. There is much written on the internet regarding the validity of such notices so I will not repeat the arguments here. Your action in writing to the companies is the way forward but I am unsure from what I have read that any prosecution for trespass would succeed without evidence of any damages as a consequence of that trespass.
I am currently waiting on a result of a complaint where the distributor could not speak or even read English so the notice would have little effect on them!
The more who complain the more chance we have of making a change.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post and leave your comments.
Val McDonald says
Hi Steve, thanks for posting this. I feel your pain!
Actually I happened upon your page whilst searching for a ‘no charity bags sign’ as my homemade one that I had stuck on my letterbox has deteriorated in the elements.
I’ve had the same sort of experience of an Eastern European person ignoring the sign. When I caught up with her and made myself understood she even denied posting it!
On a few occasions I had bags from a charity whom I then telephoned to complain. I was told that they should not have been delivered as the charity had ended their contract with the distributor. Obviously the unmarked white van I spotted was on a mission to obtain donations by deceit. Because it was an unmarked van I’d photographed it and I sent the photo on to the charity concerned as they were going to try to get something done about it.
Happily though, despite these few incidents, my sign (which includes a pic of a plastic bag so there can be no confusion) has had the desired effect. Now to carry on browsing for a weather-proof replacement. I haven’t spotted any with a plastic bag graphic on though. Maybe I should go into production!
Thank for leaving your comment. I am glad to hear you too complain. I really like the idea of your sign containing a picture of a charity bag to over come the lack of English! I shall have a go at a new design which includes a bag, so obvious I am annoyed I did not think of it myself – thank you.
Reporting anyone who ignores my two “No Charity Bags” signs (one on my gate, the other on the letterbox flap) to the Funding Regulator. I’m in the process of reporting a charity at the moment and all the bags I receive will be reported in the same manner..
Thank you for leaving your comment. The more of us who complain the more likely it will be that charities will realise the error of this method of fundraising.
I hope the person who just pushed a bag throughy door and broke the Christmas wreath comes back soon. I’ll be waiting to say hello.
Sorry to hear that. Do complain to the charity concerned as the more they get bombarded with complaints the sooner they will stop using this method.
Put a sign on the letterbox flap at the start of this year – we were getting up to 3 per day where I am which is ridiculous, today one of the distributors (for breastcancerresearchaid same as your last) walked up, saw the sign and shoved a handful through! Up to now they had stopped since the sign.
Have sent them a complaint.
Thank you for your comments. Well done for using a sign and good luck with your complaint.
Cath Naylor says
Thank you for a very informative piece of information. I will make a sign for the door. I have also contacted our councillor in relation to plastic pollution
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. Good luck with the sign- it should make a difference. If it does not make sure you complain to the charity.
Mark Buchanan says
I just googled this as the third bag dropped through my letterbox this week.
I have no dog or small child to worry about, but the environmental damage must be tremendous. I could find no data on the extent of the environmental damage, so I did a couple of calculations, based on the bag I got this morning, which is typical of all the bags I get…
Bag weight: 15 grammes.
Bag compressed thickness: 1.3 mm, measured with a digital engineer’s caliper.
If each home receives 1 bag per week here’s my results…
0.015 kg x 52 weeks/year x 29 million homes = 22.62 million kg, or 22,620 tonnes
0.0013 metres x 52 weeks/year x 29 million homes = 1.96 million metres, or 1,960 kilometres.
Effectively if all these bags were stacked on top of each other each year, they would way around 23,000 tonnes and stretch twice the distance from John O’Groats to Land’s End (as the crow flies)
Put another way, the pile of bags could be hit by low earth orbit weather satellites in space.
I know my figures are an estimate. The actual figures aren’t published and could be lower or (heaven forbid) higher.
I liked your blog and thought my calculations may be of interest.
I’m off to make one of those signs now.
Well said Mark.
I am glad you found my blog . I like your calculations which really puts this problem into perspective and I hope other readers enjoy what you have worked out!
Yes do make a sign and then complain every time you get one. The more of us who make this an issue the sooner it will stop.
On a side issue I received a novel flyer through the door this week. It was from a clothing collection firm on behalf of a charity but instead of a plastic charity bag it asked for donations to be put into existing bags and then left out with the flyer attached for collection by the company.
Whilst I still do not want to receive this type of junk mail it does at least eliminate the issue of these polluting charity bags at source.
Thank you once again for stopping by and leaving your comments.
Mark Buchanan says
I was a bit staggered when I worked out those figures. The data on the height of weather satellites came from NASA’s website, so that part is correct and does really put the scale of the problem into terms people can relate to.
I like the idea of a recycleable paper flyer, too.
No need to reply!
Neil Barber , Edinburgh says
Good one Steve…I felt like I was the only one !
Plastic bags take over 400 years to decompose…why should we be made complicit in this environmental destruction.
I also agree with some of the comments above: why should our doors have to be plastered with signs to police unwelcome bag posting ?!
Besides, I would rather see these “charities” properly funded by progressive taxation and not by the undignified begging for second hand clothes!
Hello Neil, Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments – I agree.
Keith Spamer says
Despite a clearly visible sign on my door close to the letter box, I continue to receive these charity bags. I am now drafting a letter threatening legal action which I will send to the distributors warning that I will sue for nominal compensation for intentional littering of my property and will copy in the relevant charity and regulator. I’ll let you know how I get on with that.
I don’t mind incurring the relatively small court fee to follow up my threat and any compensation I do recover will be donated to reputable charities.
Hello Keith, Thank you for leaving your comment. Please do update us with your progress and good luck.
I’ve written to numerous charities, delivering companies and the Fundraising Regulator all to no avail- still getting the bags and I have a clear sign up too.
The Fundraising Regulator is about as helpful as a chocolate teapot and refuses to uphold my complaint saying that the charities and deliverers are not in breach of fundraising rules!!! I am at a loss as to what I now can do. I have written to my parish council and I guess my mp is next. It’s ridiculous and it woukd appear we complainants are in the minority. Most people chuck them in the bin or use them as bin liners – so land fill. David Attenborough surely would be interested in covering this???
Sorry for the delay but have ben laid up with covid. There needs to be a legal sanction to impose against these companies and not just a toothless regulator. Unless more complain to get new legislation it will continue. Do badger your MP and of course you could always try Sir David!