It might seem shocking at first, but a surprising number of British Columbians hope to rid the province of clothing donation bins. Luckily, it isn’t the act of giving that’s spurred this decision; it’s the safety of the bins themselves.
Nearly 70% of the province’s populace thinks that clothing donation bins should be banned following the bin-related deaths of two people within the last month.
The Delta school district is among the first to enact the ban citing that the bins pose “a significant risk to health and safety,” according to the North Delta Reporter.
Now, property managers have until Jan. 29 to remove clothing donation bins from their premises. In the meantime, bins have been sealed shut and donors have had to find new ways to donate their gently-used goods.
Government officials and community members are suggesting would-be donors deliver their goods directly to the charities while others highlight garment services throughout the country that can pick up these used materials.
Though bins have been a primary way for many citizens to donate unwanted goods, opponents claim that these contraptions are causing more harm than good.
Since 2015, Kamloops Matters reported that six people have died as a result of getting caught in these donation bins. On top of the mounting death count, the news site also states that individuals will often donate goods they don’t want to the bins, whether they’re appropriate for donation or not. As such, both charity groups and municipal waste branches have suffered.
The Surrey school district has already removed 42 bins so far after the Jan. 14 ruling.
It’s estimated that 14.3 million tons of American clothing alone helps clothe people throughout the world, proving that clothing donations are becoming increasingly necessary. But without safe avenues for donation, countless people could suffer as a result. It’s estimated that 69% of British Columbians have donated clothing to a drop box within the last year, despite 71% of survey respondents claiming the bins need to go.
Alternative ideas have been tossed around, from at-home service to community facilities serving as drop-off centers.