Planet Aid, a nonprofit that owns 20,000 clothing donation bins across the nation, has been banned from Alhambra and several other California cities. Now, it is forcing Alhambra to overturn the ban by citing a Michigan court ruling that says the bans are a violation of 1st- and 14th-Amendment rights to free speech and equal protection, reports the LA Times
The ruling came in April after Planet Aid filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Johns, Michigan. Days after the decision, the organization sued Alhambra and other California cities that have banned the donation bins. Now the non-profit is working with city officials to negotiate new laws that will permit the bins.
Court records state that, in Alhambra alone, Planet Aid’s donation bins had collected 589,000 pounds by September 2013. According to the Planet Aid website
, the non-profit recycles more than 100 millions pounds of used clothing and textiles each year. The organization sells these donated materials and uses the proceeds to support its causes.
The organization says that the bins are dropped off with the consent of property owners. Some have claimed that the bins appear without notice in overlooked areas such as empty lots.
While some proponents say that the bins promote a good cause, others say that the bins are poorly managed, which lead to an overfill of unwanted materials like mattresses and bed frames.
Cities like Alhambra and Corona have banned the donation bins. La Canada Flintridge is among the cities that have sought to regulate these bins through zoning laws.
According to IRS tax-exemption filings, Planet Aid received $42 million from the sale of donated goods, says the LA Times.
The non-profit has been at the center of controversy in the past. Several media outlets have claimed a link
between Planet Aid and Mogens Amdi Petersen, who has been accused of fraud by the Danish government. The organization is designated as a charity by the Better Business Bureau