The donation bins that have popped up all across the Lower Mainland during the last few years have drawn a lot of complaints.
There have been issues with the fact that they are unsightly, that they attract garbage dumping, and that they don’t necessarily support local charities – or any charity at all.
But the most alarming thing about the bins is that people have died or become stuck in them.
This Tuesday, a man was found deceased and stuck in a donation bin in Surrey. In 2015, Anita Hauck died after becoming trapped in a bin in Pitt Meadows. There are other cases around North America of similar incidents.
More common, but less reported, is the fact that every few weeks or months, firefighters have to rescue someone trapped in a bin somewhere in the Lower Mainland.
The bins are unmonitored and are often in areas that have little foot traffic at night. Homeless people trying to extract an item of clothing or a blanket find themselves trapped and without any way to signal for help.
If the makers of the bins won’t adjust the designs to make them safer, local municipalities ought to lay out some more ground rules to prevent future tragedies. Considering that Langley City and other towns have already regulated the siting and placement, safety rules should be a natural follow-up for the bins.
We’d suggest that either the bins be re-designed for safety, or that they should be required to be locked shut overnight.
It’s often during the night that victims get stuck, and if no one sees them, tragedy can strike.
The donation bins were intended to help raise money for charity, not to become an ongoing hazard.