Clothing donation bin retrofits are in the works at UBC Okanagan. (Contributed)

UBC engineering students tackle clothing donation bin fix

Safer bins a step closer as part of retrofit project.

UBC Okanagan has funding and an idea for the retrofit of clothing donation bins.

There have been eight deaths caused by people being trapped in clothing donation bins since 2015. B.C. organizations pulled their donation bins off the streets. Inclusion BC removed 146 donation bins from sites around the province after a man’s body was found in a clothing donation bin in West Vancouver.

Cities including Burnaby, Richmond, West Vancouver and Pitt Meadows banned the bins.

Municipalities and the non-profit organizations that benefit from donated clothes have been waiting for a retrofit to make the bins safe.

This week, UBC Okanagan announced its retrofit project has received a $75,000 boost to design, create and test a prototype.

They also have a concept – a timer to automatically lock the bins during the hours people have typically climbed inside.

According to Ray Taheri, engineering instructor, efforts are focused on developing retrofit kits for existing donation bins while investigating intelligent systems that can unlock bins or alert emergency services.

“Anecdotally we know the majority of these incidents occur between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., so we are looking at a few options including engaging automated locking systems between those hours,” he said.

The donation bin industry is a multi-million dollar enterprise across North America and funds charitable organizations including the Salvation Army, Diabetes Canada, Big Brothers and Sisters, Goodwill and many others.

The project isn’t without its challenges, as donation bins come in a variety of shapes, sizes and configurations, Taheri said. Each has a different design and uses a different door mechanism. As a result, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Consequently, the task force may need to design unique stand-alone retrofitted solutions for each style of bin.


 


ncorbett@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Two week lock down lifted for Kent Institution

A search at the prison found nearly 26 grams of hashish and a cellphone

Missing woman last seen downtown Chilliwack in late April

Family concerned for Rebecca Lynne Sackley’s well-being

Chilliwack prolific offender arrested after four months on the lam

B.C.-wide warrant issued for David Allen Geoghegan in January

Harrison Hot Springs to partner with Sts’ailes for reconciliation event

The event will be funded by a grant meant to build dialogue between cities and local First Nations

Chilliwack vintage shop swings open doors at new location

Marion’s Dressing Room the newest place to shop on Mill Street

VIDEO: Quadriplegic man takes flight over Harrison Mills

Jim Ryan hasn’t moved his arms or legs for three years, but that didn’t stop him from paragliding

RCMP target speeders between Abbotsford and Surrey in month-long blitz

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

Most Read