Michigan cities, which love to pride themselves on being green, are giving a red light to outdoor recycling bins on private property.

Grand Rapids, the latest city to ban the boxes, claims the bins are a source of uncontained trash, but the city has not provided any documentation of complaints. The recycling bins being targeted typically are set on property to collect clothes, shoes and books. Property owners say the recycling organizations have been responsive in emptying the bins.

But Grand Rapids officials disagree. Suzanne Schulz, director of planning for Grand Rapids, said the city doesn't have the manpower to police the areas around the bins, which she said often have items like sinks and sofas dumped around the bins (see video below).

Grand Rapids will allow outdoor bins on property of businesses that are in the recycling business, like Goodwill and The Salvation Army, but others are out of luck.

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That will have a significant effect on recyclers like Planet Aid, which stands to lose about $100,000 a year in revenue in Grand Rapids, said Brian Hinterleiter, Planet Aid Michigan operations manager.

Recyclers say there are 55 bans in communities in Michigan and as the recycling industry grows they expect that to increase. Grand Rapids will fine violators $100.



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Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

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