Pink donation boxes currently without license to operate in Safford

SAFFORD — The city of Safford is putting the operators of the pink donation boxes seen throughout the Gila Valley that the boxes are in violation of city code.

The operators are required to obtain a city business license which, according to City Clerk Tamara Webster, has not occurred.

“They can go on our website and get the application. They just have to submit that our office and pay a $50 fee but we are waiving that at this time. And they just need to get one for each location that they have,” Webster said.

Business license fees are being waived by the city in May and June to assist businesses hard hit by closures and reduced sales opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bins have been placed throughout the community — in the parking lots of local businesses as well as Safford schools — by American Recyclers, a company based in Houston. The company states it is working with Save the Family Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Mesa.

The boxes are not affiliated with local nonprofits that take donations — St. Vincent de Paul Society and Graham County Rehabilitation Center — and resell the donations to fund local programs including St. Vincent DePaul’s food bank and GCRC’s services for Gila Valley residents with special needs.

The city is also investigating whether donations left outside the pink boxes also violate city code when it comes to littering.