In the process, we’ve been ignoring what is clearly the most serious consequence - namely, the tragic deaths of individuals, who were trapped while attempting to remove articles of clothing. This situation was brought home most recently due to the death of Kaily Land, a 30 year-old homeless woman who died after becoming stuck in a Recycle for Change bin in Petaluma in November of last year.
There have been at least three other similar deaths in the immediate Bay Area. The first was in 2012, in a clothing collection bin in San Pablo - just a couple of miles from RFC’s distribution headquarters. The other incidents were in Alameda in 2016 and Redwood City, the following year.
These tragedies do cover a much wider geographic area. A recent online search by Wade Larsen, one of the dedicated volunteers from the TVIND ALERT group, produced THIS LIST of 22 victims in the US and Canada. We have good reason to assume that this list, unfortunately, is far from complete - especially since the 2012 death in San Pablo won't be included until we're able to confirm the details provided by a member of the San Pablo Planning Department, who was largely responsible for passage of their donation bin regulations.
What makes these accidents indefensible is that they are due to bins being designed specifically to prevent theft of the contents and, in the process, the manufacturers and their clients have been ignoring the lethal consequences. That may be about to change thanks to a CIVIL SUIT filed, on behalf of Kaily Land’s family, last month. We’ve been advised that a comparable lawsuit is underway in Los Angeles but, at this time, we have no confirmation.