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updated: 2/16/2012 9:29 AM

Schaumburg panel recommends banning donation boxes

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  • A representative of USAgain, which uses donation boxes like these at Woodfield Green Shopping Center in Schaumburg, argued for stronger regulation rather than an outright ban of the boxes at Schaumburg's zoning board meeting Wednesday.

       A representative of USAgain, which uses donation boxes like these at Woodfield Green Shopping Center in Schaumburg, argued for stronger regulation rather than an outright ban of the boxes at Schaumburg's zoning board meeting Wednesday.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • A representative of USAgain, which uses donation boxes like these at Woodfield Green Shopping Center in Schaumburg, argued for stronger regulation rather than an outright ban of the boxes at Schaumburg's zoning board meeting Wednesday.

       A representative of USAgain, which uses donation boxes like these at Woodfield Green Shopping Center in Schaumburg, argued for stronger regulation rather than an outright ban of the boxes at Schaumburg's zoning board meeting Wednesday.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • A representative of USAgain, which uses donation boxes like these at Woodfield Green Shopping Center in Schaumburg, argued for stronger regulation rather than an outright ban of the boxes at Schaumburg's zoning board meeting Wednesday.

       A representative of USAgain, which uses donation boxes like these at Woodfield Green Shopping Center in Schaumburg, argued for stronger regulation rather than an outright ban of the boxes at Schaumburg's zoning board meeting Wednesday.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 

Despite requests for a less extreme form of regulation from two for-profit companies Wednesday, Schaumburg's zoning board unanimously recommended a total ban on donation boxes throughout the village.

The only exception would be for the principal user of a property to maintain a box for itself on its own site.

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But even a representative of Goodwill Industries, a nonprofit that operates several sites in the suburbs outside of Schaumburg, endorsed the village's plan to ban the boxes.

Renee Bowerman said Goodwill Industries believes in having a person actually receive donations and hand out tax receipts to donors. Furthermore, she was concerned about the increasing proliferation of for-profit companies diluting donations of clothing to nonprofits.

"It's our most important funding mechanism," Bowerman said.

For zoning board members and village staff, the main issue with the donation boxes is aesthetics. No amount of regulation or licensing could effectively keep the boxes up to the village's high appearance standards, they said.

"My problem with this is the clutter problem," zoning board member Dave Dallmeyer said. "It's just a plain eyesore."

Carlo Cavallaro, director of government affairs for West Chicago-based USAgain (pronounced "use again"), argued that his for-profit company was better than most in maintaining its donation boxes and provided the convenience essential to keeping recyclable textiles out of landfills.

He suggested that the same effort put into banning and removing the donation boxes could be used to enforce better standards for them.

Though aware of the argument that there are other ways of donating, he said human nature dictated that most people will recycle only if they can fit such activity into their other errands.

Frank McDonald, sales manager for Montgomery, Ill.-based Helping Hands, echoed that sentiment. He said his company collects 10,000 pounds of clothing each week in Schaumburg alone.

The village board will vote on the recommended ban on Feb. 28, when Cavallaro and McDonald said they will try to persuade trustees to look at the issue differently.

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