Grand Rapids Moves To Ban Select Bins Meant for Charitable Collections

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In a move that’s sure to leave some people scratching their heads, officials in Grand Rapids, Mich., are considering a new measure to ban outdoor recycling bins on private property.

And we don’t mean simple, ordinary recycling bins for papers and plastics. We mean bins for clothes, shoes, and other donated goods (like the ones you see outside grocery stores).

The reason? City officials say the bins tend to attract messes and can be a bit of a nuisance.

“Grand Rapids, the latest city to ban the boxes, claims the bins are a source of uncontained trash, but the city has not provided any documentation of complaints,” Anne Schieber writes for Michigan Capitol Confidential.

“Property owners say the recycling organizations have been responsive in emptying the bins,” she adds.

But despite assurances from property owners, Grand Rapids officials say they don’t believe this is the case.

“Suzanne Schulz, director of planning for Grand Rapids, said the city doesn’t have the manpower to police the areas around the bins, which she said often have items like sinks and sofas dumped around the bins,” Schieber writes.

Grand Rapids officials will allow the bins on property owned by groups that are in the “recycling business” (i.e. Goodwill and The Salvation Army), but everyone else is out of luck.

“That will have a significant effect on recyclers like Planet Aid, which stands to lose about $100,000 a year in revenue in Grand Rapids,” said Brian Hinterleiter, Planet Aid Michigan operations manager.

But, hey, Grand Rapids will be rid of its charitable nuisance, right?

“Recyclers say there are 55 bans in communities in Michigan and as the recycling industry grows they expect that to increase. Grand Rapids will fine violators $100,” Schieber notes:

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