Illegal clothing bins have been popping up in neighborhoods all over Southern Brooklyn and communities are doing what they can to fight the eyesores.
One resident leading the battle is Theresa Scavo, chair of Community Board 15 and a City Council candidate. She told this paper that one day, a clothing bin suddenly appeared at the side of a building on Kings Highway and East Second Street.
“The Department of Sanitation tagged the bin and it has to remain there for 30 days,” Scavo explained. “Sanitation removed it, but a property owner woke up and poof! This thing was outside his store.”
Another bin also popped up on the corner of Kings Highway and East 16th Street. Scavo said that this is a nuisance for business owners.
“They have enough to deal with on a daily basis. Every time this happens, a property owner has to find out who to contact,” she contended, adding that some of the bins are generic, with no exact contact information or trace of who or what is responsible for them.
“On West 12th Street, we saw one with a generic Red Cross label, but had no other markings,” Scavo said. “We called Red Cross in Manhattan and they had no knowledge of a clothing bin on West 12th Street.”
Scavo added that the bins are safety and health hazards, besides being eyesores with discarded clothes and miscellaneous discarded items surrounding them.
“These things are a potential hazard with bed bugs. How do you know that there aren’t bed bugs in there with this type of heat?” she said. “These things are popping up by schools and religious facilities. How do you know what people are putting in these things? They are dark and concealed. You can put anything in there that you choose.”
Community Board 18 Chair Saul Needle said that the bins have also been scattered around his district, which encompasses Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park. He noted that those who donate clothing in these bins “think they are doing a good thing” but really are just contributing to for-profit enterprises.
“They think the clothes are going to a charity, but it’s not a charity. It’s a group of people who got together and decided to take these clothes and then resell them at a vintage shop,” Needle contended. “It’s deceptive. People are [just] contributing raw material for some business.”
Leaders of community boards across southern Brooklyn are urging residents to let them know about any of these bins; they will in turn call a company which will remove the bin. If another party cannot be reached, the Department of Sanitation will step in and tag the bin, which will be removed within 30 days.