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Clothing Donation Bins Plunked Down in LES Without Some Property Owners' OK

By Lisha Arino | July 2, 2014 3:25pm
 A bin from Our Neighborhood Recycling recently popped up on the corner of East Broadway and Pike Street.
A bin from Our Neighborhood Recycling recently popped up on the corner of East Broadway and Pike Street.
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DNAinfo/Lisha Arino

LOWER EAST SIDE — A New Jersey-based for-profit company deposited a collection of bright pink clothing donation bins across the neighborhood in the past few days — including on properties where owners said they didn't give permission.

About half a dozen Our Neighborhood Recycling bins appeared on East Broadway, Rutgers Street, Norfolk Street and other spots last weekend, as first reported by Bowery Boogie. The company’s name is painted on the front of the bins, along with the words “Clothes, Shoes, Drop” on the sides.

DNAinfo spoke to several property owners who said they had not given permission for the bins to be installed on their land.

"The owners have not been approached by the organization," said a spokesman for the developer Sumaida + Khurana when asked about the bin placed on Kenmare Street next to the building the developer purchased in March. The company did not say if it planned to ask for the bins to be removed.

Our Neighborhood Recycling manager Bernard Jones insisted that the company, which has a warehouse in Jersey City, got permission from all property owners to install them.

“We tell them exactly what we’re doing and it’s up to them to say yes or no,” he said.

Residents and business owners can call the company's number, listed on the boxes, if they have concerns, Jones said.

Jones said he could not say how many bins the company had placed in the neighborhood or even in the city, but the bright pink boxes have also been spotted in Queens, according to the Times-Ledger.

He added that the company plans to resell donated clothing to other clothing vendors, as well as to companies that use the clothing to make rags. The signage, he said, makes it clear the organization is not a charity.

“It doesn’t say ‘donations.’ It says ‘recycling,’” he said, although he added the company does donate a small portion of clothing to the homeless and recycles what can't be sold.

According to the Department of Sanitation, city law prohibits clothing collection bins on city property, as well as on public sidewalks and roadways, unless the government installs them.

The Department of Sanitation could not say whether the Our Neighborhood Recycling bins are illegal. But if the city discovers an illegal donation bin, it is tagged and will be removed 30 days later, a Sanitation spokeswoman said.