Last month, two for-profit clothing donation bins were illegally placed on public sidewalks just off of 4th Avenue, at the corners of Sackett and Degraw, and were flagged for removal by the Department of Sanitation. Those were hauled off, but then last week, we noticed two new ones had replaced the ones that were taken away. The one on Sackett had a notice for removal by Sanitation, but the Degraw one didn’t.
Sanitation explains on their website that, “under Local Law No. 31 of 2007, the placement of publicly accessible collection bins on New York City property or property maintained by New York City, or on any public sidewalk or roadway is illegal,” and concerned residents are invited to submit a form requesting their removal.
According to a recent report in the Daily News, there has been a big spike in these bins appearing around the city in the past six months, and Sanitation has removed 24 in Brooklyn along since July 1. And complaints are not just about the bins, but about the mess they create and vermin they may attract.
As for what the city can do about it, a Councilmember from Queens is looking into legislation that would “require all bins on private property to list a name and phone number as well as detail where the donations are being sent,” so at least people would know where their donations are going. And Sanitation says fines aren’t a solution, because the companies would continue to pay the summons “as a cost of doing business on public property.”
We reached out to our own Councilmember Brad Lander to see if he had thoughts about the issue in our area and whether he is working on any legislation connected to it, but he did not respond to our request for comment.
Though the bins look slightly different, the ones that were there in December and these new ones both have the same phone number on them: 908-247-7898, which appears to be connected to Viltex USA, which is the company name shown on the new ones. The company has not responded to our requests for comment, but a neighbor in South Slope recommends contacting their dispatcher, Mary, at 862-279-5292 or firstname.lastname@example.org, saying he had success that way in getting them to remove a bin from his property.
If you have items that you need to unload, we have a lot of options besides these bins — check out this list of local options for clothing donation.