This is my first post on PDD, although I have been an avid fan and reader for quite some time.
I am posting today to inform the PDD community of an issue that concerns area nonprofits and people with disabilities. Like many of you, I have noticed these green clothing collection boxes all over town. I also wondered who was responsible for placing them and where the clothing and items donated were going. As the boxes declare, “Recycle Locally” and feature the United Cerebral Palsy foundation’s logo on one full face of the box, I assumed that the boxes were put out on behalf of a local CP nonprofit, in order to raise money for their cause. This, however, is not the case.
As a member of the City of Duluth Commission on Disabilities, I became aware that these boxes — of which there are now at least 57 in Duluth and the surrounding communities — have been placed here by a private for-profit business from the Twin Cities. Triangle Recycling owns the boxes and they sell the clothing collected in these boxes. They ship these clothes out of state to places like Texas and Mexico and keep 95% of the profits. According to the company’s president, they donate 5% of their annual profits to the UCP, which is based in St. Cloud.
That is all good and fine, except these boxes are misleading and they are harming area nonprofits, such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Savers, who depend on local donations to fund their programs, which provide jobs to people with disabilities, services to disabled vets, and other much needed services to people in our community who truly need them. All of these green boxes are on private property, mostly of local business owners, who were not given all of the facts by Triangle Recycling. Having spoken to several of these area business people, they were shocked and dismayed to hear the full story behind the green boxes.
Please spread the word and encourage businesses in your neighborhoods to demand that these boxes be removed. And, as always, continue to heartily support our local nonprofits who do so much for those in need, right here in our own community.
Below are links to a recent editorial I had published in the DNT about this topic and a story that our local Fox News did about these green boxes. Despite these two stories, nobody I talk to seems to be aware of this situation. Perhaps you can help spread the word and catalyze the movement to eliminate these boxes from our community. Thank you, on behalf of the City of Duluth Commission on Disabilities and everyone in the area who supports or benefits from our local nonprofits.