Aug 28 - SF Center Closures Hurt Lowest Income Residents

Four SF recycling centers: HANC, Nexcycle on Masonic Street and those in the Safeway parking lots at Market and Webster streets closed or is slated to close this year. The recycling center at Safeway on Market Street will be evicted September 6. These closures create a ripple effect in terms of lost jobs, lost access and lost income for recyclers. A wide variety of SF residents utilize buyback centers to redeem their CRV—however reducing access to buyback centers is likely to have a disproportionate impact on the lowest income residents.

A recent story in Slate.com calls for higher CRV deposits, and highlights a study by Bevin Ashenmiller of Occidental College, which indicates that very low income people rely on CRV as a percentage of their income.

The deposit program also serves to transfer wealth from rich to poor. Bevin Ashenmiller, an economist at Occidental College in California studied bottle-recycling behavior around Santa Barbara and found that families making less that $10,000 earned an additional $340 by redeeming scavenged empties—a significant increase to their yearly earnings. All told, households making less than $25,000 took in 58 percent of all the money from deposits.

San Francisco is already well behind the state’s ratio of buyback centers to residents. And while the closures hurt everyone who relies on buyback centers to redeem their CRV, it is those who can afford it the least who will be impacted the most.

You can take action today by signing a petition asking Safeway to stop closing its buyback centers.

Under California’s Bottle Bill, the decision to close the buyback center means Safeway will either have to pay a $100 per day fee to CalRecycle, or allow residents to redeem their CRV in-store.


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