The city of Richmond is tired of its donation bins looking more like a garbage dump.
“Some people just look at is as a trash bin and they’ll dump whatever stuff they want to get rid of there,” said spokesperson Ted Townsend.
Townsend said city crews have spent countless hours dealing with complaints and cleaning up the junk surrounding the bins. City council will vote next week on new regulations which include a cap of 50 bins on city property, a permit structure and possible penalties for the charities and non-profit organizations operating the bins.
“They’re creating the attraction that is causing people to bring stuff there, to dump it, to create the unsanitary and unsightly conditions,” said Townsend. “If they don’t pay for it should city taxpayers pay for it? I don’t think so.”
READ MORE: Richmond hopes to clamp down on people using donation bins as dumping grounds
Messy bins would need to be cleaned up within 24 hours of being reported. The cost of city intervention would be taken out of a $1,000 damage deposit required for each bin. Continued non-compliance and violations would mean additional fines.
“The number one goal is to raise as much money as we can…If we’re having to continuously pay fines with regards to sites not being cleaned up, that takes away from that,” said Maria Avgerinos of the Canadian Diabetes Association, which doesn’t have any bins on city property.
Avgerinos admits that people do leave garbage and messes around their bins, but most organizations already effort to respond within 24 hours. She says between the cost of disposing unwanted donations and facing fines, some charities and non-profits may choose to not operate their bins at all.
The Richmond Society of Community Living which has one bin on city property says it applauds the new measures. Executive Director Janice Barr says the new permit process will also weed out bins that do not directly help the local community.
Both the City and bin operators say those abusing donation bins are doing a lot of damage and are making a plea to the public to only drop off approved items.