The City Council passed a bill cracking down on illegal clothing donation bins Thursday.
The law – introduced by Councilman Vincent Gentile – penalizes organizations that put drop-off bins on the street with no intention of giving the collected garments to the needy. The bill allows the city to remove the bins immediately, fining first-time violators $250 and repeat offenders $500. Previously the city would post a notice on the illegal bins, giving the owner 30 days to remove them.
The number of complaints about drop-off bins has skyrocketed in the last two years, jumping from 97 reported in 2012 to 2,093 this past June, reports the New York Daily News. Not only are the sketchy bins an eyesore, but many of them are actually scams, selling the garments for a profit overseas.
“These bins are illegal, unsafe, and undermine the efforts of the legitimate charities that actually collect clothing for those in need,” Gentile said in a statement. “This law will impose strict penalties on the shady companies engaging in this illegal practice. I want to thank City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverto and her staff for their diligent work on this issue.”
Clothing bins will also be registered with the city and owners will be required to report how much they collect.