City Official: Donation Bins Getting Out Of Control In Philadelphia, Must Be Regulated

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A city councilperson today will propose what would be the first ever city regulations covering those large donation bins you see in parking lots and alleys throughout Philadelphia.

Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass says her district in the northwest – and other parts of the city – are getting overrun with donation boxes:

“If you walk really in any neighborhood, or any commercial corridor, you see them everywhere you go.”

And while the donations are ostensibly for a good cause, Bass wonders if some of the boxes are placed there by people with a profit motive:

“There is some question and concern that some of the items of are actually being sold, that the material and fabric is being processed and then sold for a profit.”

So Bass is introducing a measure that would, for the first time, impose strict regulations on those donation bins. Owners must obtain a license from the city, and the process would give each community some veto-power on where the boxes can be placed.

“The bill will basically regulate these boxes, and say where you can put them, where you cannot put them,” Bass explains. “You can’t just drop a box anywhere. There has to be some rules. We have to do things in a very systematic way. You can’t just drop them in a residential neighborhood in the middle of the night.”

The measure would also require that each donation bin is emptied once a week, and is clearly marked with the name, address and telephone number of the owner.

“Whatever your use is, it has to identify the use on the exterior of the box,” says Bass.

Under Bass’s plan, the Department of Licenses and Inspections would issue the donation box licenses and enforce the bill, and she says the fees paid by the owners would help offset the additional manpower cost.

The measure will be debated in committee.

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