Assemblyman Ed Braunstein is planning to introduce legislation to clean up clothing drop-off bins of businesses that masquerade as nonprofit organizations.
Under the bill, clothing bins that are not operated by organizations recognized as proper nonprofits by the IRS will be banned and the city will be able to remove the bins immediately. First-time offenders will be fined $250, and then $500 for every additional one during a calendar year.
Recently, there has been an explosion in bins all over the city, according to published reports. Bin owners collect donated clothes and sell them to thrift stores, using what should be donations for income, the assemblyman said.
“Enough is enough. It is time we remove these bins from our streets and ensure that these fake charities no longer benefit from their deceptive actions,” Braunstein said.
Currently, all clothing bins are banned in the city on public property. The Department of Sanitation places notices on the bins, giving operators 30 days to remove them. But organizations simply remove the notices and move the bins to other locations, the assemblyman and local leaders said.
Besides hiding under the false pretense of a nonprofit company, residents have complained that the bins attract graffiti and are eyesores in the community.
Community Board 11, which represents Bayside, Douglaston and Oakland Gardens, has received numerous complaints of nearly a dozen bins around the community, which range in colors from a stark pink to black.
“It’s just a scheme for some crooked people to make money and it’s a horror story,” said Andy Rothman, a Bayside resident. “They shouldn’t be anywhere in New York City or New York State.”
Calls to Our Neighborhood Recycling, which owns a few bins in Bayside, were not returned.