San Pablo City Council Throws Out The Baby With The Bathwater

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New San Pablo city ordinance takes the city backwards, hurts local non-profits and the environment. Campus California fights to be able to keep a clothing reuse program operating in the city.

Clothing Donation Box in a shopping center, San Pablo CA

Donation Box in San Pablo

“I am worried about possible loss of business if the box is removed because people will now go to Richmond or El Sobrante to use other drop off boxes and could take their business there as well.”

On Monday, March 19th, the City of San Pablo amended various provisions of the municipal code regulating donation and collection boxes. Campus California’s donation boxes directly support the community of San Pablo and promote sustainability around the world. These municipal code amendments, which may be subject to legal challenge, have a great impact on the community. Campus California has been working diligently to offer an acceptable regulatory change - they share the city’s concerns - to allow for the community to have a place to recycle the 200,000 pounds of clothing per year that is generously donated by San Pablo residents.

Members of the business community that host boxes at their locations wrote letters and attempted to speak at the council meeting to no avail. Ken Tu, owner of M&K Bargain 98 Cent Store on San Pablo Avenue summed up the concern best, “I am worried about possible loss of business if the box is removed because people will now go to Richmond or El Sobrante to use other drop off boxes and could take their business there as well.”

The three San Pablo City Council members present to vote on these regulatory amendments – Vice Mayor McNeil, Councilmember Morris, and Councilmember Calloway – may have had the best of intentions with their vote, but they missed the mark. “To ask a non-profit organization to pay $1,000 per collection box prices everyone out of the market. For Campus California alone this constitutes $15,000 in fees for the collection boxes currently placed in the city. Aside from the obvious cost constraint to the non-profit, the city will now have to landfill 200,000 pounds of donated items annually. There is also no commitment to how the city will pay to enforce this regulation.” said Keld Duus, General Manager of Campus California.

Campus California’s Public Relations Director, Julie Wedge, added, “I have been attempting to offer two language changes that would alleviate the problems with this regulation. However with no communication from the Council members it looks like we will be forced to remove our boxes.” We encourage residents and recyclers alike to tell the San Pablo City Council to rethink and revise this move."

About Campus California:

Campus California is an independent 501c3 non-profit organization from Richmond, CA servicing the largest number of clothing donation boxes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Hundreds of locations are available for the public's use 24/7 across 130 different cities, with more being added all the time. Campus California collects clothing, shoes, books, toys, original CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and other media for recycle and reuse. The organization uses the proceeds from the sale of collected clothing as grants for organizations fighting against poverty in the USA and aboad. Since the start of the program in 2003, this organization has collected over 10,000 tons of donated clothing. Donations of items in good condition are tax-deductible; please visit http://www.campus-california.org for more information.

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Jan Sako
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