“We really didn’t do this in order to degrade“, Magali can’t believe her eyes when she receives a fine for having left a bag of clothes next to a full bubble. She is a loyal customer of the clothes bubble: “It’s really a habit when I’m sorting and I’m a mom of a fast growing teenager so it’s quite common.”
This summer, as usual, she takes the car to go to the Ganshoren clothes container. “When we arrived the bubble was full with bags next to it so we dropped ours off too“, she says. Only here, donating her clothes on the sidewalk rather than in the space provided for this purpose, it constitutes an offense. Filmed by a surveillance camera, Magali received a ticket: “We were surprised when we learned that it was considered a wild deposit.”
“The will is not to knock out the person”
Of good will, Magali tried to challenge: “I explained that it was the first time and that we did not know, but nothing helped“Result of the races: €50 fine. We contacted Jean-Paul Van Laethem, mayor of the town, who explains that this is a low sum given the circumstances: “An administrative fine can go up to 350€, here the will is not to knock the person out.” He adds: “I hear the misunderstanding but an infraction remains an infraction.” A small amount that remains across Magali’s throat: “50€ for making a donation, it’s disappointing. Santa Clause is garbage ! We are not rich, we try to help and we are punished! From now on, I will sell everything online.“
The mayor explains all the same that a certain generosity can be applied in cases like this and invites Magali to contact the sanctioning official again. He claims to have asked for the bubble to be emptied more frequently and prefers to take the positive from this story: “If more pick-up is needed, it’s because people are coming to drop off the clothes.”
What the law says?
Putting bags next to a trash container, clothes bubble or elsewhere on the public highway is considered illegal dumping. Administrative penalties can range from 50 to 350€. In the particular case of clothing bubbles, it is a question of public cleanliness and not damaging donations, but also of avoiding incentives. “Dirt attracts dirt. Placing bags can lead to proliferation“, explains Bruxelles Propreté.
If in the case of Magali, it was a bag of clothes intended for the bubble, the unwanted waste deposited next to these containers represents a real scourge. In Wallonia and Brussels, BeWapp reports 15% of untimely residues in textile bubbles.
What to do when the bubble is full?
- Wait for emptying
- Contact the association responsible for the bubble so that someone comes to empty it
- Find another nearby bubble (e.g. ici or ici)
Each year, 27,500 tonnes of textiles are collected in Wallonia and Brussels according to figures from the non-profit organization BeWapp.