Metal bins for used clothing can be found on sidewalks across the city, but their placement is often illegal and they're being installed faster than the city can remove them.
For-profit companies that put out donation bins similar to those of charities including Goodwill and The Salvation Army have the Department of Sanitation removing dozens of collection points, with 57 hauled off in the past nine months, up from 30 removed in the city's previous fiscal year, running from July 2012 to June 2013.
Brooklyn had the most bins removed of any borough, with 33 pulled. Eleven were hauled away from the Bronx, 4 were taken from Queens and none were removed from Manhattan, according to the Sanitation Department.
The sale of used clothing and other textiles is a multimillion dollar business, with companies sending them internationally for resale or to companies that use them for insulation and furniture padding.
When residents complain about clothing bins on sidewalks or private property, Sanitation workers tag them with stickers warning their owners the containers will be hauled off if they're not moved within 30 days.
The companies SpinGreen, USAgain and Viltex place used clothing bins in the city and don't claim to be charities, but some nonprofits said donors are being duped.
“They take away money from charitable organizations,” said Mauricio Hernandez of Goodwill New York. “People usually believe that they are supplying some sort of charitable organization, while they are often giving money to an entrepreneur.”