Put your clothes where they belong

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:24

    Borough moves to regulate pesky donation bins, By Mark J. Yablonsky FRANKLIN — Clothing bins have become a common sight at many supermarkets and other commercial areas. And people who drop off their old T-shirts and blue jeans probably think they’re doing a good deed while cleaning out their own closets. But it turns out that the contents from many of these bins are sold in other parts of the country and in foreign countries. It’s really more of a business than a charity. Franklin, like many other towns in New Jersey, wants better regulation of these bins and more accountability from those who operate them. “They’re misleading. It’s actually a business,” explained borough administrator Richard R. Wolak. “So the clothing is actually not necessarily always going to a charity, but to other places where they’re sold for profit.” Earlier this month, Franklin began to look into regulating these clothing donation bins. A law to put a lid on their proliferation was set for final reading just prior to the Advertiser-News deadline. It was expected to gain passage. In tweaking an initially proposed law, the borough “...added some details,” Wolak said. “We specified the zoning areas in town where these things can be located.” Only on commercial property Under the proposed ordinance: Bins can be set only on “commercial property with an active principal use.” Donation bins can no longer be placed on private property. The borough’s zoning officer would have to certify a bin’s placement, and no bin can be situated in violation of a property’s site plan or in such a way that creates “a safety hazard.” Worries that an overstuffed bin can turn into a “garbage dump,” are based on a lack of regulation that in the past has turned a blind eye to pile-ups at the bins that included trash and non-clothing donations. The ordinance’s language also mandates that the applicant involved will mark the bin with the owner’s name, physical address and phone number. And, for further accountability, the bin owner must provide a “quarterly report on the amount of textiles collected to be included in the borough’s recycling report,” the ordinance reads. Permits issued will be for one calendar year and will include a $25 permit fee for the first bin, as well as $10 for each additional bin with a maximum of two.