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Dallas Considers Banning Public Donation Boxes


Dallas Public Donation Boxes Overflow | Image by NBC DFW

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Dallas city officials are looking into how to stop the “messes” created from overflowing outdoor donation boxes, even if that means eliminating them altogether.

Such boxes are a common enough sight in the parking lots of churches, grocery stores, and some retail parks. They can be seen at capacity or even with donated goods hanging out of the receptacle or piled onto the ground nearby.

Some residents consider the sight a nuisance.

“There are just complaints literally every week about clothes thrown on the ground, items blowing out into the street,” said Chad West, a Dallas city councilman and The Dallas Express Crime Boss of the Month for August.

Still, others see the overflow as a blessing. Local resident Lisa Johnson told NBC 5 that she goes to the donation box at Fort Worth Avenue and Westmoreland Road in Oak Cliff to search for items she could use.

“It will be picked up in a couple hours. Somebody will come and get it,” Johnson said.

Because the City does not have any codes on the books regulating these donation boxes, it currently has no mechanisms to address the matter.

The boxes are not required to be registered, so there is not an official count or reliable contact information for the boxes’ owners.

Additionally, the city code does not provide for any penalty for the mismanagement or neglect of the boxes.

City officials estimated roughly 160 donation boxes are around Dallas.

“We want development. The key to development is clean and safe,” stated city Councilman Casey Thomas.

On Monday, the Dallas City Council Quality of Life Committee asked city staff to devise possible solutions to the problem that could be implemented early next year.

The City could follow examples set by Arlington, Frisco, Houston, and San Antonio, all of which have codes regulating the operation of public donation boxes.

Still, at least one city council member would prefer to ban them outright, citing the potential cost of enforcing regulations.

“It’s a hard call, but I think the easiest thing to do is just speak in terms of dollars and cents, and the good sense would be just to remove them,” said Councilmember Carolyn King Arnold.

For their part, Councilmembers Thomas and West stated that they would prefer to regulate the boxes somehow to avoid punishing responsible nonprofit operators.

Nonprofits like Goodwill and the Salvation Army often use donations to fund initiatives such as job training and placement. Donations also help divert goods away from landfills.

Without donation boxes, some nonprofits would not be able to resell the goods to fund their programs, nor would they be able to redistribute items like clothing and footwear, which helps thousands of people a year.

In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency found that roughly 9,000 tons of clothing and footwear were dumped in U.S. landfills, much of which could have otherwise been reused or resold.

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1 month ago

It’s a shame that they have to be banned but so many people are slobs and use them for dumpsters.

Kap Pac
Kap Pac
1 month ago

Why not have the boxes emptied more often?

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