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Bin Company Faces State Scrutiny For Misleading Consumers

Posted: 6:12 PM, Jul 31, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-11 12:31:49-04
Bin Company Faces State Scrutiny For Misleading Consumers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There's more fallout from our NewsChannel 5 investigation into those clothing recycling bins.

Another bin company is now under scrutiny from the state after NewsChannel 5 Investigates discovered hundreds of bins have been misleading folks into believing their donations are going to charity.

It turns out that a for-profit company may be the only one who benefits from what you give.

The bins said GAIA Movement USA and donations supposedly helped support the non-profit organization's environmental projects in the US, Africa and India.

"If you look at those bins and you put something in there, you think you're giving to GAIA right now?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett.

"That's what you would think," he replied.

Hargett said he was surprised to learn from us that the GAIA Movement no longer owns or has anything to do with the bins.

The Chicago-based charity told us that it sold all of its bins in Middle Tennessee back in May to the for-profit company Wear It Again Collection Services, which already operates bins with the Special Olympics logo on them.

But, more than two months later, Wear It Again still hasn't changed the labeling on the bins nor did it contact the state about the change in ownership, as is required by law.

"Frankly, they should have notified us within 72 hours of obtaining those bins and thanks to you, because of your work, that's how we found out they had obtained those bins from GAIA," Hargett explained.

This isn't the first time, we found, Wear It Again has been caught not following Tennessee's charity laws.

The state fined the company $30,000 back in 2012 after Wear It Again failed to register with the state and repeatedly failed to submit the required financial documents for its fundraising efforts on behalf of the Special Olympics.

Hargett said his office has now put Wear It Again on notice, and he expects the company to do something soon because, he stated, when bins don't have the correct information neither do consumers.

"We think they should know where those goods are going, what they're going to be used for and whether or not they're going to be sold for profit somewhere down the line," he said.

We repeatedly reached out to Wear It Again through email, phone calls, and the company's attorney, but never got a response.

Tre Hargett said if the company continued to ignore the law and leaves the GAIA bins out as they are, Wear It Again will be fined.

If you see one of those recycling bins that you have questions about or you think violates the state's labeling laws, Tennessee's Secretary of State wants to hear from you. Just post a picture of the bin on social media, either Facebook or Twitter, with the hashtag #Bincheck. 

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