The impact from closures of recycling centers, like the one recently closed at the Safeway on La Playa Street, is now being felt by merchants selling drinks in bottles or cans throughout the Richmond District of San Francisco.
The closure of the recycling center is just the latest in an ongoing trend, with the number of San Francisco's recycling centers falling from 35 in 1990 to just 13 today, most of them now on the east side of the City in the Bayview District.
While city officials and newspaper columnists, like the SF Chronicle's C.W. Nevius, have claimed that San Francisco's "blue bin" system makes recycling centers obsolete, CalRecycle, the California state agency that enforces recycling laws, does not agree.
The 1986 California Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, a.k.a. the California "bottle bill," was intended to make it convenient for people to directly get their nickel or dime back that they paid as a deposit for each aluminum can and glass or plastic bottle that comes with a California Redemption Value (CRV). The blue bins do not provide direct cash back.
The removal of a recycling center creates what CalRecycle calls an "unserved zone," which means that all the markets in that zone have to take up the slack and provide buy-back service for CRV materials, or as an option, pay a fee of $100 per day, or about $36,500 per year.