Some Cities Soften on Ban of Clothing Donation Bins

Planet Aid fights back to keep collection boxes.

(Photo by LGagnon)

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Some cities that banned large clothing recycle bins due to the sidewalk nuisance of overflowing drop boxes are taking a different approach because of a judge’s ruling.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “In an April decision with far-reaching ramifications, federal appellate judges in a Michigan lawsuit deemed the bins a form of constitutionally protected speech.”

Many California cities had passed laws to ban the likes of Planet Aid’s bright yellow collection boxes. The Times cites “a rash of complaints about overflowing drop boxes that often attract jettisoned mattresses, broken furniture and piles of garbage.”

The Michigan case isn’t binding in other judicial districts but it could be referenced in future cases elsewhere. Shortly after the ruling, Planet Aid sued a few cities in Southern California that had passed bans, and several are working with Planet Aid’s lawyers to create regulations instead.

“We are looking forward to seeing these cities’ proposed regulations,” Planet Aid Chief Executive Ester Neltrup said in a statement. “Planet Aid supports proper regulation because we are in this for the long term. We want to encourage more recycling of clothing in a way that works for the communities we serve. But banning all donation boxes was the wrong thing to do.”

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Jenn Stanley is a freelance journalist, essayist and independent producer living in Chicago. She has an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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Tags: city councilstrashlawsuits

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