US & Canada

Canada woman dies after becoming trapped in a donation bin

Clothing donation bins Image copyright Raul Pacheco-Vega
Image caption Several people have died around the world from getting stuck in charity bins, like the ones pictured here

A Canadian woman has been found dead after she became partially trapped inside a clothing donation box in Toronto.

The death, which police believe was unintentional, follows a string of similar fatal accidents.

Several non-profits have removed their bins and some have called for a new or safer way to drop off donations.

The bins have teeth to prevent theft, but people can easily get caught on them.

Last week, The Canadian Press reported that seven Canadians have died in donation bins since 2015.

The report followed the death of a 34-year-old man in West Vancouver in December.

After the Toronto woman's death early on Tuesday morning, the city said it will investigate whether the bins are safe and if there are better ways to accept donations.

The woman's identity has not been made public.

A number of towns and non-profits have called on the bins to be removed.

"Shut them all down," Loretta Sundstrom, whose 45-year-old daughter died in 2015 after getting stuck in a bin, told CBC last week.

"Shut them all down and get a designer and redesign these things."

In 2017, a 56-year-old Pennsylvania woman died under similar circumstances. Her arm became stuck in the bin when a step stool she was on gave way under her. She was dropping off clothes.

Others have found themselves stuck when trying to take clothes from the bin. Sometimes people who are homeless may also try to seek shelter in the bin.

Homeless and anti-poverty activists have called on engineers to redesign the bins so they no longer pose a safety risk.

At the University of British Columbia, an engineering professor is asking his students to try to develop a prototype.

"Unfortunately, in the initial stage of [donation bin] design, they never considered, 'what if someone got inside?,'" professor Ray Taheri told the CBC.

"It becomes a human trap."

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