CMO Commentary: Is There a Battle Over Bins?

Posted at May 3, 2014 | By : | Categories : Blog | 1 Comment

I am the chief marketing officer for American Textile Recycling Service and was interviewed last week by the Detroit News for a story entitled “Clothing resellers in Michigan battle over bins.” Many similar articles have been written by publications all across the nation, most of them with an eerily familiar tone and feel. In fact, the wording and phrases are exactly the same. They sound like reprinted press releases.

Kudos to Francis X. Donnelly for doing his own research, allowing me to speak with him at length and for exposing the strong-arm tactics of Goodwill in Michigan and nationwide. Although much of our conversation doesn’t appear in this article, here’s what we discussed. I hope you will find it helpful:

ATRS is a proud member of the SMART Association and abides by our industry’s Code of Conduct in all business practices. We are the nation’s fastest growing textile recycler and proud of our mission to make Clothing & Shoe Recycling easy and convenient in the communities where we live, work and play. We are a private company and our service is entirely free to the public, municipalities and neighborhoods we serve. This is unique in an industry where most often it costs cities to recycle bottles, glass, paper and cardboard.

Our goals are simple:

1. BE GREEN: Help municipalities meet their waste diversion mandates by keeping millions of pounds of unwanted textiles out of our landfills.
2. BE CHARITABLE: Support our charitable partner Michigan Humane Society with monthly funding for spays, neuters and adoptions; and
3. BE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE: Create economic stimulus and good jobs in a depressed state that sorely needs it.

Every time you drop a bag of recycling into an ATRS bin, you support your community in these three ways.

We believe passionately that our cities need more recycling solutions, not less. After participating in 24 Earth Day events across the nation (including the State of Michigan Earth Day event in Lansing to help rescue animals), we realize the mission is greater than ever. Most families, moms, kids and city officials don’t even realize what an amazing work we do in our communities. Once they understood how just one bin touches so many, they become passionate advocates and fight to have them.

Sadly the writer chose to reprint unfounded allegations stemming from a lawsuit against ATRS by a group of competitors. We stand by our comments that the suit was meritless, that property managers and business owners have the right to choose which companies place bins on their property and may freely remove the ones that are dropped without permission. As with any contracted service, if the provider does a great job you should keep them. If the service is poor or negligent, you should contract with another supplier. Happily this matter is behind us and we can get back to handing out replantable wildflower bracelets and spreading our message of a greener tomorrow in our lime tutus!

We challenge all bin operators in the Metro Detroit area to abide by our industry’s Code of Conduct. It is the clear and ethical way to do business. We challenge thrift stores to cease backroom monopolies and let families choose which charities they want to support. This way our communities benefit from the service we all provide and can work together to keep Michigan clean and green.

Please follow our social media to learn more, come meet us at a future event and post your questions here. I will answer them all.

  • Debra Stevenson Peganyee

    Thanks Brad Heers for your comments. Marketing folks have a good sense of humor about spin-meister jokes. There are many ways and many reasons companies choose to settle lawsuits. Most often parties agree not to comment on the terms, which is the best way to end a media battleground.

    ATRS has consistently maintained the allegations are meritless. ATRS supports our SMART association’s Code of Conduct, we strongly advocate for its sound business operating policies and highly recommend that other bin operators follow these same common sense guidelines. Property managers and business owners in Michigan have
    the right to choose which service providers to allow on their properties and
    should contract with the ones that do a good job. If bins (or bikes,
    cars or other abandoned chattel for that matter) are just dropped on their
    properties without permission, they have the right to remove them.