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

Body found believed to be missing Chilliwack senior with dementia

Police says case is now in the hands of the coroner

Mammoth sturgeon catch was ‘a fish of a lifetime’ for Chilliwack guide

Sturgeon was so enormous it tied for largest specimen every tagged and released in the Fraser

Chilliwack’s Riley Ashley unstoppable as Team BC wins baseball gold

Ashley clubbed six homeruns at the U-13 National Western Championships in Cloverdale.

Chilliwack’s Jude Hall selected for T12 baseball tournament

The Toronto Blue Jays Baseball Academy hosts the annual showcase event at Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Motorists urged to use caution as Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls through Chilliwack

Thousands of cyclists will be heading through Chilliwack this weekend as part of cancer fundraiser

Pickle me this: All the outrageous foods at this year’s PNE

Pickled cotton candy, deep-fried chicken skins, and ramen corndogs are just a start

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Fraser River sea bus proposed to hook into TransLink system

Maple Ridge councillor just wants to start discussion

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Most Read