A leading advocacy group has called San Francisco the “star child” of California’s struggling bottle and can recycling program, saying no grocery store in town is required to reimburse nickel or ten deposits. cents.
The group, Consumer Watchdog, called on Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement on Monday to help resolve the issues.
California is one of 10 states where consumers pay a 5 or 10 cent deposit on bottles and cans that can be redeemed when they hand over those containers, in an effort to encourage recycling. However, many recycling centers in California, which are not state owned or operated, have closed in recent years.
This has made it more difficult for consumers to participate in the deposit system for beverage containers. San Francisco currently has two redemption centers located on the southeastern outskirts of the city.
San Francisco announced a pilot project in February 2020 that includes the launch of a “mobile recycling program”. The mobile program aims to make the deposit refund process more efficient and convenient by sending trucks to neighborhoods across the city several times a week to collect collections.
CalRecycle, the state’s recycling agency, certified the pilot program in July, when hundreds of retailers, grocers and liquor stores were no longer required to reimburse consumers in their stores.
“But the pilot project is not operational,” said the statement from Consumer Watchdog, which frequently criticized CalRecycle for failing to adequately monitor the bottle deposit system.
“San Francisco is a perfect illustration of the failure of the convenience of our cylinder deposit law and the incompetence of government system managers who have allowed fewer and fewer return points to collect your CRV,” indicates the press release. CRV – the California cashback value – is the amount paid to consumers when bottles and cans are returned.
Charles Sheehan, spokesperson for the San Francisco Department of the Environment, said the mobile program began on January 5. He said the city needs funding to hire and train workers, buy the trucks and equip them with software that will read CRV labels. and electronically transfer refunds under a new high-tech system. As part of the program, it is also adding more traditional “redemption centers” where people can bring in bottles and cans.
“We’re putting the finishing touches on something that has never really been done before here in California on the scale that we envision in San Francisco,” he said, adding that it had taken time to line up. the program on “Rules and Regulations Emanating from CalRecycle and the State Legislature.”
Californians pay an additional 5 cents for bottles up to 24 ounces and 10 cents for bottles over 24 ounces. They can get that money back if they recycle empty cans or bottles.
Nine other states have a similar system. But most are run by the beverage industry instead of the state government.
Last year, Newsom appointed Rachel Wagoner, a veteran legislative staff, to head CalRecycle. Wagoner has pledged to overhaul the agency’s troubled bottle drop-off system which worsened during the pandemic.
Wagoner responded to the Consumer Watchdog statement by saying that CalRecycle looks forward to the start of the mobile recycling project in the new year and hopes it “will expand much needed buyback opportunities for residents of San Francisco.”