FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The clothing donation bins you see around town are meant to help people in need in the community but some have become an eyesore.
Donations are overflowing out of these boxes here off Mall avenue and East Joyce Boulevard and it’s not the only one. As for who’s responsible for the clean-up, that falls on who owns the land where the boxes are located.
Cindy Stevenson is the owner of Zuzu’s Petals in Fayetteville and the plaza she works from is home to two clothing donation boxes.
“For the first couple of years they would be picked up often, but now it’s like oh my gosh, will they ever pick these up,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson says she likes the concept of being able to donate in this way but says the items need to be picked up more often.
“I think we donate more often when it is convenient for us,” said Stevenson.
They’re owned by a Texas-based company called American Textile Recycling Service or ATRS. There are several throughout the city and some are overflowing with clothing and other bulky items. Stevenson says its not usual to see homeless people rummaging through them.
“They’ll just take everything out and thrown it all over the parking lot over there…And then it is left there to be rained on and whatever else for days,” said Stevenson
“It’s supposed to be for clothes and books and I think people have just…Well it’s become a dump spot,” said Jennifer Krodell the Store manager at Rick’s Bakery.
Local residents say overflowing bins take away from the natural beauty of the area.
“It looks very chaotic and disorganized… It doesn’t look like they are being well taken care of,” said Talley Berry.
“I think I would want to see them picked up more often just because it could be that much quicker to get to someone in need,” said Myriah Dorf.
Senior Code Compliance Officer for the city of Fayetteville, Billy Bryant says they do have some problem areas in the city. Ultimately it is up to the property owner to make sure the donations are picked up.
“If a property owner wants a box on their property and it turns into a dumpsite it is not the owner of the box’s problem but the owner of the property’s problem,” said Bryant.
Unmaintained donations boxes go against the city’s junk and debris code. The city will alert the property owners of the violation and give them a timeframe to get it cleaned up.
“If the property owner does not clean it up and the city does, then we will use our contractors to correct the issue and send them the bill,” said Bryant.
When donations start to look messy and overflowing with clothing and other bulky items. Folks need report it to the city’s code of compliance office. That number is 479-575-8237. Make sure you have the address or can describe exactly where the bin is located. That way they can send a team out to start the process of getting it cleaned up.
He reminds folks that these green bins by ATRS are for clothing and to not dump any other items in or near the bins. The label also says no mattresses, furniture or appliances and there’s a number to call for large donations.
His advice is for folks who have donation bins on their lots is to keep an eye on their properties to make sure it is being used correctly and there is no illegal dumping taking place.
We reached out to ATRS for comments and have not heard back.