Pink boxes proliferate throughout Lower East SideJuly 10, 2014 • By The Villager
BY ZACH WILLIAMS | Within 30 minutes via bicycle, The Villager found nine illegal sidewalk clothes-and-shoes-donation boxes around Delancey St., but their origins and charitable legitimacy remain unclear.
The boxes are pink and operated by Our Neighborhood Recycling, with a phone number listed below the group’s name. State business registration records link them to an apartment in Jamaica, Queens, as a limited-liability corporation.
A call to the number listed on the boxes was answered by a call center in Carlstadt, N.J., where a woman took a message, which was not returned by press time. The unidentified woman said she had no information on what Our Neighborhood Recycling LLC did with the donations.
While repeatedly declining to directly address questions concerning these pink bins, Department of Sanitation spokesperson Kathy Dawkins said owners of illegal donation bins have 30 days to remove them once they are spotted by the department.
“The placement of collection bins by any person, other than a government or governmental agency, or its contractors or licensees, on any city property, property maintained by the city, or on any public sidewalk or roadway is prohibited,” she said in an e-mail.
On Sunday, The Villager noticed that a pink box, located at the northwest corner of Wyckoff and Bond Sts., in Brooklyn, just north of the Gowanus Houses, had been plastered with Department of Sanitation stickers, saying it was illegal and subject to removal by the department.
But none of the pink boxes observed by The Villager on the Lower East Side bore such stickers. According to Dawkins, clothing-box confiscations are already up citywide — 125 this year compared to only seven in 2013.
She declined to comment on whether enforcement or the number of bins had increased this year, but did add in a subsequent e-mail that the department has received about 160 complaints citywide this year, specifically, regarding the pink clothing receptacles.
A representative of Viltex, a for-profit company that organizes donations for charities, told The Villager on July 8 that the company does not manage any receptacles in Manhattan south of Harlem, though their receptacles are pink.
Local blog Bowery Boogie highlighted neighborhood concerns on July 9 that the bins’ operators seek to turn a profit from the donations of others.
– With reporting by Lincoln Anderson