New Port Richey considering donation drop box ban

By Sarah Blazonis, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, March 05, 2018, 10:51 AM EST

A push to consider stricter regulation of donation drop boxes in New Port Richey is turning into a move to ban the boxes altogether.

  • Illegal dumping happening at donation boxes
  • City leaders considering having bins removed
  • NPR hosts events for residents to drop off unwanted items

"It's not just the clothing donations, which is what they're trying to get, but it's everything else that gets dumped next to them, including furniture that is so bad that it really needs to go to the dump," said Mayor Rob Marlowe.

A box for the American Red Cross sits on the corner of Grand Boulevard and Gulf Drive.

Writing on the side tells passersby it's a place for clothing, shoes, linens, and small household items. Recently, you could also find a used tire and bag of garbage sitting next to it. Marlowe said boxes like it across the city have become magnets for illegal dumping -- sometimes lots of it.

"You could've filled this room to overflowing with the amount of garbage that was showing up," Marlowe said of one location.

While the city council considered an ordinance at a recent meeting to regulate the boxes, Marlowe and Councilwoman Judy DeBella Thomas questioned whether the boxes were needed, and suggested banning them altogether. Marlowe said a new ordinance is being drawn up that, if passed, would require property owners to remove the bins.

One resident said she's not sure this will solve the problem.

"I see people dumping their garbage everywhere, so I'm not sure that the boxes would make any difference," said Angie Olson, who donates to a box near her home.

Marlowe said people who do use the boxes to make donations have other options. He said they can either drop items off with organizations directly or call to have them picked up.

The mayor also noted there are legal ways to get rid of the garbage being dropped off around the boxes. He said the city hosts free events in the spring and fall where people can drop off junk.

In some cases, transportation can be arranged for the items.