By Alexis Howell
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
On Oct. 26, some Lansing residents joined together at the city council meeting to show their support for the Collection Bin Ordinance that was approved that day.
Elaine Womboldt, facilitator of Rejuvenating South Lansing, a group that focuses on bringing people of Lansing together to solve problems, was ecstatic when the ordinance was passed. According to a letter Womboldt sent out to members of Rejuvenating South Lansing, she saidd that she was thankful that they attended nine months of bi-monthly meetings and 15 drafts of the ordinance for them to finally get a 7-0 vote for the ordinance.
According to the Collection Bin Ordinance given by Chief Deputy City Clerk Brian P. Jackson, the purpose of the Collection Bin Ordinance is “to regulate collection bins in the City of Lansing so that they remain clean, safe and do not create hazards to pedestrians or to vehicular traffic.”
The ordinance effects collection bin operators and property owners. Collection bin operators provide the bins and the property owners have to fill out an affidavit and acknowledgment of owner giving permission to locate collection bin on real property.
They went on to say that once the ordinance goes into effect, the collection bin operators have 30 days to apply for a collection bin permit . Considering some locations have more than one bin, whomever obtains the permit first and gets approved will be able to keep the collection bin there. The other bin will have to be removed.
The permit will be placed on the bin and will have up to date information on the permit. It will show when the new permit is due, and give information on how to get in contact with the city clerk if there is a problem.
At the city council meeting, the rate that was approved was $125 for a permit, $100 for a renewal and $25 for a replacement. The placement of the bins was also discussed at the meeting. Council Member Carol Wood said that a bin operator has to get permission from the business owner to place the bin. If the owner does not approve of the bin, the bin operator will be charged a fine.
Line Henriksen, Michigan clothes collection manager of IICD Michigan Clothes Collection, a non-profit company that helps create a better environment by recycling and reusing secondhand clothes and shoes, said she was overjoyed when the ordinance got passed. Although she was overjoyed, she feels as though the fee is too high for the bins.
Womboldt, however thinks the price is reasonable considering other cities are charging more. She said that they can well afford the price.
Sarah Reckhow, MSU professor and philanthropy expert says that fees only become a problem with smaller non-profit organizations.
She said the big issue is what they may have in their operating budget for just general expenses as opposed to money that’s for a different service. She also said that if the government issues grant funding, it may be for specific things like job training for employees or to support a food bank. Reckhow said for small non-profits that can cause problems.
Womboldt said there are so many collection bins in Lansing that this ordinance was well overdue.
“I have no idea how many collection bins are in the city of Lansing, but most of them are in South Lansing. The ordinance provides restrictions for the collection bins,” said Womboldt. “It helps prove that the property owner gave them permission to put the collection bin there. We did try to get it to where the bins could not be within 1,000 feet of each other, however, if there are businesses next to each other, there is a possibility that you would see one bin within 100 feet of another.”
Henriksen said her company drives from Detroit three times a week to empty the collection bins. She said they collect 40,000 pounds of clothing and shoes a month and they ship 40 containers to other countries.
She also said that 70 percent of people depend on second-hand clothes to dress themselves everyday. Once they get to these countries, they are sold to women and that is how they make a living.
Henriksen is always happy when she can help others through her work.