AP wants to limit collection bins

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK — The City Council is finalizing an ordinance to regulate the number of donation boxes within the city.

The proposed ordinance would “help protect the health, safety and welfare of citizens by preventing blight, protecting property values and neighborhood integrity.”

This response would resolve many of the resident complaints and hopes to “get rid of the eyesores around the city,” Councilman Bob Keenan said.

He said one complaint he received involves three donation
boxes in an oil change business parking lot on Allen Road. The boxes sit clustered opposite a resident’s front window and have become an unwelcome sight.

“This council has a responsibility to our residents in addressing the blight,” Keenan said. “These containers are a nuisance and a magnet for graffiti.”

The ordinance restricts the placement of a donation box to locations of a non-profit charitable organization – a church or a VFW hall – which are the only organizations allowed to apply for the required
license.

Keenan said this would potentially be a win-win situation for all parties involved. He said it provides the correct avenue to donate clothing and there would be set locations at established non-profit organizations in the city that people know and trust.

Line Henriksen, clothes collection manager at Institute for International Cooperation and Development-Michigan, said cities are beginning to regulate collection boxes due to the for-profit companies that set up boxes in empty lots and do not maintain them correctly or efficiently.

Companies that operate this way give the industry,
as a whole, a bad name, she said.

“Some cities are enacting regulations that make it difficult for us, as non-profits, to operate,” Henriksen said. “The demands are too much and in the cases where we had to pull our boxes, it is not just us that lose out, but also the citizens of that city.”

Henriksen said her company wants to provide easy and convenient ways for people to recycle their textiles and supports appropriate
regulations.

Robert Thompson, a territory manager from PlanetAid, said he and his company welcome any new and necessary regulations, but the resulting ordinance should recognize the efforts of organizations practicing “responsible boxing.”

Thompson worked with the Portland City Council to enact and implement
a similar ordinance despite the city’s position of “not to make them impossible but to make them undesirable to the box maker,” he said.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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