Aug 16 - What's Happening to SF Recycling Centers?

Four recycling centers have been closed in San Francisco this year. The HANC center, which had operated in San Francisco for 36 years, closed in January. Then NexCycle on Masonic Street closed. Recently, Safeway issued eviction notices to two buyback centers, one at the Market Street location and another at the Webster Street store, according to stories in the SF Chronicle and the SF Examiner.

The closure of these centers compromises the state-certified CRV system’s effectiveness and has a disproportionate impact on those who rely on recycling centers to redeem their CRV.

While spokespeople for Safeway cite the availability of curbside recycling as a viable alternative, curbside recycling is, and always has been, complementary to CRV; it’s not a substitute. Curbside recycling is funded in-part by the Bottle Bill because the CRV is donated to the local government.

"The suggestion that somehow beverage recycling can be taken care of via curbside recycling is just incorrect," said CAW Executive Director Mark Murray. "We love curbside recycling, but the majority of beverage containers aren't consumed inside the home and are not available to be included in curbside recycling."

Recycling centers at supermarket sites are where most consumers choose to redeem their beverage containers for cash. If anything, San Francisco is the most underserved community in the state (compared to the statewide average of one per every 16,000 residents) in terms of buyback recycling opportunities, with only one center for every 38,000 residents.

A wide range of consumers choose to redeem their CRV at recycling centers, including seniors, families, recent immigrants, small businesses, bars and delis. This won’t change. With four recycling centers closing in less than a year, San Francisco risks falling even further behind. This is alarming in a city that has worked so hard to build its reputation as a pioneer in recycling programs.


Learn more about California’s Bottle Bill.

Photo Credit: Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner

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