Burnaby calls for removal of donation bins

Jesse Day / January 8th, 2019

People have been trapped after climbing into bins like these.
(Courtesy: geograph.org.uk)

The City of Burnaby is asking organizations to remove their clothing donation bins.  This comes after the death of a 34-year-old man in West Vancouver on New Year’s Eve, and the death of a woman in Toronto yesterday.

Both victims became trapped in the bins after climbing inside. The bins can only be opened from the outside.

After the West Vancouver death, the district sealed donation bins and is currently looking at ways of making them safer, while also considering removing them altogether.

Burnaby city manager, Lambert Chu says the request for companies to either remove or evaluate the safety of the bins was made out of caution after the recent tragedies. He says they still encourage people to donate used clothes.

“The City has asked companies to review the safety of their bins and to take appropriate measures to remove the bins if necessary. It is done so out of abundance of caution in light of recent tragic incidents. Public who wants to donate used clothing for a good cause, they can contact charitable organizations for pick up service. Alternately, they can drop off clothing at the Burnaby Eco-Centre.” – Lambert Chu, Burnaby City Manager

Toronto Mayor, John Tory also requested a review of the bins safety and usefulness after the death of a woman in Toronto early Tuesday. The woman was unresponsive when she was found and later pronounced dead.

At least seven people have died in donation bins across Canada in the last four years.

Burnaby Mayor, Mike Hurley says that if it’s necessary to shut down the bins entirely until the problem can be solved, that is something he will consider. Chu says, they have also taken additional steps to ensure these tragedies stop.

The City has installed signs on the bins to discourage people from climbing into the bins. The bins located in the Eco-Centre are staffed during opening hours and staff will check the bins periodically. – Lambert Chu, Burnaby City Manager