Clothing street bins have flown below the radar, have proliferated, and have turned out to be deadly. This Vancouver Sun editorial notes that in the last four years five people in this province have died in this containers, seven across the country. Several municipalities including Vancouver have sealed these clothing bins up. University engineering students are working on better designs for the bins. But why do we have the bins in the first place? If we are able to have the clothes picked up by the charities or drop them off at a charity store, is that not a more prudent solution that also allows for better connectedness to the organizations and to their works? Why did we allow the public realm to be peppered with these clothing bins? And who is benefiting from clothing bin profits?
In Metro Vancouver clothing bins are ubiquitous, in different shapes and colours, but all serving the same function~they are donation bins on public and private property with a mail box lid type for people to deposit of cast-off clothes. It is assumed that somehow the charities hosting the bins pick up the clothes, clean and sort them, and ensure that the needy get access to these donations, or that they are sold so that the sponsoring organizations can benefit. However the needy still have to pay for the clothes, and the fact that people die in these containers suggest that the people we intend the clothes to go to can’t afford them or don’t have access to them.
There is a dearth of information on what really happens to those clothes, and those donations become part of a more complex story. Read more »