Clothing donation boxes becoming dumping ground
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:37

Planet Aid clothing bins (this one is located behind the Dollar Tree in North Point Plaza) have become overfilled, and some say they have been turned into a dumping ground for other items.
photo by Ben Boehl

Well-intentioned cause turns into local eyesore

by Ben Boehl

    The idea of clothing drop-off boxes might have seemed good, but Gray Manor & Northshire Community president Linda Gossman argues those clothing bins have become an eyesore for the community.
    Gossman is talking specifically about clothing donation bins in the Gray Manor area. A group called Planet Aid has bins all over the Dundalk area, but Gossman said two of those bins have become a dumping ground, with clothes overflowing onto the parking lots.   
    She is referring to one at the parking lot of the old Tennis Shoe Warehouse near the intersection of Trappe and North Point roads and the one across from the Wal-Mart parking lot in the North Point Plaza behind the Dollar Tree.
    “We don’t want that junk there. We have enough trash from the flea market,” Gossman said.
    Tammy Sproule, Public Relations Manager at Planet Aid, Inc. said that her organization has 27 boxes in the Dundalk area. She said Planet Aid tries to stay on top of such problems and might consider having more pick-ups in those overflowing areas.
    “We have pickups around there three times a week, but are considering having a daily pickup,” Sproule said.
     Sproule is aware of the bin near Trappe Road, but said the problem is that the Tennis Shoe Warehouse business closed over a year ago and the building  is still empty, so the overflow could go unnoticed for a few days. Also some community members could easily bring unwanted items, since no one is watching.
    Gossman is upset because more than clothes are being “donated.” She has taken pictures of a sofa and a bed mattress at the site and said that people are using the area as adumping ground.
    “They need to put up a ‘no dumping’ sign. People don’t know what [the bins] are for.”
    Sproule doesn’t believe a “no dumping sign” is needed and wishes some community members would stop using the donation receptacles as trash bins. She added that if items like mattresses don’t fit into the bin, they shouldn’t be left there.
    “It says on the side of the boxes that it’s for clothes and shoes only.”
    Gossman said she saw a lady dropping off toys and a bag of clothes at the Trappe Road site, but gets upset because these items sit there and get added to a large pile. Gossman wants the community to drop off those items at a place like Goodwill Industries.
    “People in the community need to realize, even if what you are dumping is in good condition, you just can’t dump at this site or any of the other sites around the area.  Take it over to Goodwill,” Gossman said.
    She also wants Planet Aid to take the bin out of the empty Trappe Road parking lot, but Sproule noted that people are still donating.
    “We get a good response from the community, so we’d hate to take it away.”
    Baltimore County Code Enforcement chief Lionel van Dommelen said that his office is aware of the matter and he intends to contact Planet Aid and says he has seen no evidence that the bins have ever been emptied.