The man leading the charge to make safer donation bins says a lack of money is getting in the way of finding a solution to the problem.
Ray Taheri, senior engineering instructor at UBC’s Okanagan campus, had his first-year engineering students take on this community-driven project as a class assignment last year, following news of a bin-related death in Vancouver.
Globalnews.ca coverage of donation bins
However, more bin-related deaths led to mounting pressure. Since then, Taheri has assembled a task force with an aim to retrofitting the bins so they can be useful again.
“Many of these organizations, their existence completely relies on these donation bins,” he said.
But research and development requires money.
“Several stakeholders they have showed that they are interested, they are eager, but they have not really stepped forward to provide the funding,” Taheri said.
He said about $120,000 is needed to pay for student wages, materials and testing. He said some stakeholders have been timid in light of the way municipal governments have been responding.
“They’re afraid that perhaps the city ban these bins and even if they spend this money it will be useless,” Taheri said.
He is encouraging cities and stakeholders to consider the role the bins play in textile recycling and providing sustainable funding for non-profits.
“That’s why it would be much easier if everyone tried to be a part of the solution rather than once again removing them and destroying them. That would not be an answer,” he said.