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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford playgrounds to re-open Monday

City urges public to bring hand-sanitizer and maintain physical distancing

Police watchdog investigating after man injured during Abbotsford standoff

Man seriously injured during arrest on May 21 at Abbotsford hotel room

New executive director for Fraser Valley Child Development Centre

Karen Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean, who has retired after 22 years

Annual Walk for Alzheimer’s goes online on May 31

Event held every year in Abbotsford now raising funds through virtual event

UPDATE: Man from Mexico reported missing in Abbotsford has been located

Police report that Antonio Fernandez, 29, has been found safe and sound

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read