Editor, Ceres Courier,
I saw your article in the Courier and wanted to clarify a few things. Noting that you: 1) included false and misleading information about USAgain; and 2) violated journalistic ethics by NOT reaching out to USAgain to get a response or inquire about the claims that were made, I am hopeful you will correct the article.
Please include the following:
USAgain always receives the permission of a site host or property owner before placing a bin. With each bin placement, this comes in the form of a signed written agreement.
Your statement that people are "under the false impression that clothing dropped in the boxes is going to charity" is misleading, particularly since California law requires for-profit recyclers to clearly display their for-profit status on each box. USAgain includes this language on all of its bins as well as on all of its marketing/advertising materials.
Mr. Brown states that his organization has been "robbed" of $7 million but offers no evidence to support that figure. Please ask him how he arrived at this estimate.
Furthermore, the US EPA estimates that Americans throw out 85 percent of their clothing and shoes in the trash (accounting for 11.2 million tons of textiles), which get buried in landfills, each year. By that figure, we need to do more to encourage textile recycling and provide more recycling options, not limit it or create a monopoly within the industry.
• The unfortunate truth is that not all collection bin companies (for-profit and non-profit alike) operate under the same high ethical and aesthetical the same standards. At USAgain, we want to raise the bar by encouraging municipalities to enact common-sense guidelines to weed out the bad apples - whether for-profit or non-profit - and ensure that operators act responsibly.
USAgain, which was awarded an "A+" rating by Better Business Bureau, maintains its bins to the highest standards, employing full-time staff - not sub-contractors -to prevent overflow. Each bin promotes a 24/7 consumer phone line and website to report service needs.
Finally, the bins you displayed in the photo that accompanied your article are not even located within Ceres. They are in an unincorporated part of the county.
Serafin & Associates, Inc.
(Editor's note: Mr. Burnham is incorrect in his claims that his bins are located outside the city. The bins are well within the city of Ceres, located on Central Avenue just north of Caswell Avenue).