Tiverton could dump donation bins

Currently allowed only at closed landfill, move to allow them town-wide draws a sharp response

By Ruth Rasmussen
Posted 1/31/23

Donation bins — the large metal containers that can often be found stuffed to overflow with toys, clothing and other castoffs in parking lots and private property — could be a thing of …

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Tiverton could dump donation bins

Currently allowed only at closed landfill, move to allow them town-wide draws a sharp response

Posted

Donation bins — the large metal containers that can often be found stuffed to overflow with toys, clothing and other castoffs in parking lots and private property — could be a thing of the past in Tiverton.

Such containers are currently only allowed at the landfill. But with its closure in late November, one piece of business left over was the removal of the nine donation containers still lined up at the entrance. When the landfill was open, the containers, owned by organizations including Planet Aid, the American Red Cross, and Big Brothers Big Sisters, provided a place to dispose of used clothing and other unwanted items, while lessening the impact on the landfill.

When the town council held a public hearing last week to consider amending a town ordinance so the containers would be allowed in other parts of town, audience members adamantly opposed the idea. The closing of the landfill, speakers said, gives Tiverton a chance to do away with them once and for all.

By the end of the discussion, councilors said they will rework the draft ordinance and continue the public hearing to February 13. The newly revised document is expected to prohibit entirely the placement of donation containers “within the confines of the town.”

DPW recommendations

The plan to allow them town-wide is the result of a recommendation last year from Department of Public Works Director Rick Rogers who, in anticipation of the landfill’s closure, asked the council’s permission to change the allowable location for the containers.

“The big push is to have them on private property where those two parties [owners of the containers and property owners] monitor it,” said Rogers. “Do you want to make it easy for people to donate and recycle? If you don’t, it goes into the trash stream ... and besides it being a waste, we’re going to be paying for that by the ton.”

Opponents were not critical of all the companies whose containers are on site at the landfill, but they did reference challenges the town has had in prior years with some owners who did not properly maintain them and ignored complaints.

Tom Ramotowski, chairman of the Conservation Commission, said that although his board has not taken a position on the issue, he is personally opposed to the proposal to place the containers elsewhere in town.

“These companies were not responsive…It got so bad, the town council eventually …changed the rules so the bins had to be put at the landfill and each individual entity was limited to two.”

Tiverton resident Maureen Morrow echoed Ramotowski’s comments and referred to “serious problems” with the bins in years past.

“Little mini dumping sites appeared ... wherever these bins were ... This is a bad idea.”

Victoria Revier, chairwoman of the Litter Committee, concurred.

“As our town is now in a new phase with no more landfill, it is our time now to stop the bins altogether. It is the perfect opportunity to say, ‘We’re not doing this anymore.'” 

Following the audience remarks, some councilors, including John Edwards V, weighed in. 

“I agree with every one of the speakers tonight, and I think we should just do away with these things entirely,” he said.

 

 

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