After a long battle with proliferating illegal clothing bins, the New York City Council passed a bill on Thursday, October 18 designed to eliminate what many residents have described to be both a scam and an eyesore.
While in the past, the clothing bins were issued warning stickers with the owners directed to remove them within 30 days, the bill – now awaiting the mayor’s signature — gives the New York Department of Sanitation the authority to remove the bins immediately. First-time offenses trigger a fine of $250, with repeat offenders getting hit with a $500 fine.
In July, Councilmember Vincent Gentile introduced legislation to put an end to the problem that was plaguing the area. Months later, that plan came to fruition. “My office has received countless complaints about these bins and I’m thrilled today to pass this important piece of legislation which will allow the Department of Sanitation to immediately remove illegal clothing collection bins from public areas,” he said.
“As they say ‘Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way,’ illegal clothing donation bins are designed to take advantage of our generosity,” added Justin Brannan, Gentile’s press secretary. “This new law, shepherded by Councilman Gentile, will not only help keep our sidewalks clean but it will make sure people know that when they donate used clothing, the items are actually going to legitimate charities for people and not profit.”
Executive Director of the Sunset Park Fifth Avenue BID Renee Giordano was pleased with the outcome. “We’ll really happy the City Council finally got it passed,” she said. “I believe Brooklyn had more bins reported than any other location. I can’t wait for everything to completely be finalized and not worry about them showing up again. It’s been an eyesore and a danger.”
Giordano believes that the harsher penalties are long overdue. “Up until now, there were no fines and it didn’t matter to companies. They just moved them around. They’ve been cheating residents that were nice enough to donate clothing. Sunset Park alone reported something like 30 bins last year. This year, there were more.”
“These bins are illegal, unsafe and undermine the efforts of the legitimate charities that actually collect clothing for those in need,” Gentile agreed. “This law will impose strict penalties on the shady companies engaging in this illegal practice.”