Echo Park boxes may encourage recycling but are they legal?

Need to get rid of some unwanted clothes and shoes? Some newly installed collection boxes that have popped in Echo Park encourage passersby to drop off those dated clothes instead of throwing them away. But while the green-and-white USAgain boxes  may encourage recycling, the metal bins set up on sidewalks are probably illegal, according to Department of Public Works.

Several of the collection bins, which popped up earlier this month on or near Sunset Boulevard, are blocking public sidewalks and appear to have been installed without necessary city review and required permits. “The boxes are illegal and don’t have permits,” said  Cora Jackson-Fossett with Public Works. ” Investigators are being sent out to take appropriate action” against what the department describes as an  “illegal encroachment.”

The Eastsider has contacted USAgain to get more details on the collection bins.

USAgain, a for-profit company, has attracted attention in the past in the wake of complaints from Goodwill and other nonprofits that say USAgain has siphoned of clothes and donations of other  items that may have benefited community causes.  As a result, the state passed a law requiring that the collection bins inform consumers whether they are donating clothes and items to a nonprofit or  for-profit form.

Jackson-Fossett said residents can report illegal encroachments and other sidewalk obstructions by either calling 311 or submitting an online service request form.



  1. these boxes have been bothering me since they went up. companies like this, collect all of the “donated” clothing and then sell it to a variety of places (rag mills, poor 3rd world countries, etc,…). that stuff could be walked 1 block further to Out Of The Closet and it would go to a good cause. Here. it does nothing but line someones pockets.

    • not to mention, they are a magnet for trash. there is always abandoned clothes, mattresses, furniture and garbage around this type of box. all around the city, not just Echo Park.

  2. The bureaucracy in this city never ceases to amaze me. Bottom line, whether or not you agree with what they do with the clothing, it’s better it go to someone’s use than be thrown in an overstuffed landfil.

    I love how the city won’t maintain the destroyed streets and sidewalks in EP, but is ready to regulate on people actually using them for useful purposes.

    • Until they install one of these things in front of your house. Then it’s why isn’t the city doing more to regulate these nuisances?

    • sure, I get that logic. but the whole thing is deceptive, and is only there because they think they can get away with it. you don’t see these boxes in neighborhoods like Los Feliz; you see them in neighborhoods with a high number of working class people who don’t have the time or energy to complain about them. and how about the fact that it is on city property, but making money for a private entity?

      • You are aware you can be sued for the substandard condition of your own sidewalk right? I pretty much consider it my property at this point.

        If one of the boxes were placed in front of my house, I’d take it up with the company who put it there, and not go tattle tail to the city bureaucracy that’s already beyond disfunctional as is…

  3. Before you criticize the City of LA, take a look at this FOR profit website. This is big business. As someone has already pointed out, it’s better to donate clothing to a legitimate organization (Goodwill, Out of the Closet, etc) where it will do
    some good! http://www.usagain.com/

  4. I’m all for recycling, but these boxes produce masses of trash. There’s one on York in Highland Park that always is a mess. I just take my used items and clothing to the Goodwill where the proceeds help out folks in need.

    • I agree with many of the above statements. I’m all for RECYCLING too! Yet, these portable recycling bins
      are not well maintained, usually tagged with graffiti, filthy, and overflowing with donated items. Organizations
      must be held accountable for maintaining the recycling bins if they are legally placed at desired locations.
      I do no appreciate bins on the pedestrian walkways.

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