The green donation bins are ubiquitous around the city, found in the parking lots of many businesses. At times, the donations overflow: electronics, bags of clothes, stuffed animals and more. But not all of the green donation bins are equal.

While some of the donation bins are affiliated with nonprofit groups, others are not.

The GreenCity Project is one of the for-profit donation bins, but the business is upfront about its intentions by identifying itself as such on the bottom of the bin. Other bins owned by companies like Green Recycling aren’t as transparent.

With a vague name that implies recycling, the company offers no website address. The only information on the bins linking the company to its operators is a phone number that’s connected to an answering machine. The only corporation in Illinois that has a similar name as Green Recycling dissolved in 2009.

Whether the donation boxes are being used as dumping grounds or in the hope that items placed in the bin will actually make their way to someone in need depends on who’s giving away possessions. If you just want to get rid of stuff, by all means, continue using the for-profit donation bins. But if you want to help others in need, consider dropping your items off to one of the many reputable local organizations.

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