Mar calls for hearing on recycling center evictions

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The now closed Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council's recycling center.

An eviction crisis of a different sort has hit San Francisco, as one by one, recycling centers are closing across the city. Supervisor Eric Mar today called for a hearing on recycling center closures, to measure the impact on the city’s poor and its zero waste policies. 

“I’ve heard from many of our residents that (the closures) will have severe impact on the low and no income members of our community,” Mar said at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. “Many are immigrants who rely on this stream of income.”

The hearing was spurred by the announcement of the upcoming closure of a recycling center at the Market and Church street Safeway. But the problem is deeper than just one facility.

Since the closure of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center by Kezar stadium, four other recycling facilities in the northern half of San Francisco have closed or announced their closure. A sea of NIMBY neighbors are making war not on poverty, but the impoverished, as gentrifying neighborhoods chafe against rubbing shoulders with the downtrodden and homeless who trade in cans and bottles to make a meager living (many of whom we've profiled before). 

Sup. Mar’s office is partnering with the Coalition on Homelessness to see just how those low-income communities are affected. Coalition on Homelessness Executive Director Jennifer Friedenbach said many poor and lower-middle income earners depend on recycling centers for extra income.

“Pretty much all impoverished people recycle (at these centers),” she told the Guardian. “It’s a class delineator. You don’t recycle? You must be rich.”

And it’s those monied few, like that Haight Ashbury Improvement Association (who pushed out the HANC recycling center) who cry out against their existence.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist C. W. Nevius likes to poke at the poor by playing up the arguments of the “improvement associations” and other neighborhood groups that are calling for the recycling centers’ ouster. In his latest piece just last Saturday, Nevius lambasted the ills of the recycling “criminal enterprise.” 

From his article: “What the closure will do is make it more difficult for the large-scale scavengers, who have turned theft of recyclables into a criminal enterprise. They cruise the streets at night and loot the curbside recycling bins. Some even pay homeless individuals a small sum to raid the bins and collect bottles and cans for them.

It’s an open secret in San Francisco that many recycling scavengers in the city raid blue bins meant for Recology in search of cans and bottles. But the idea of the closure of the Market street Safeway recycling center spelling an end to their black market presence is perhaps a bit extreme. 

Friedenbach agreed that Nevius’ theory makes little sense.

“Actually the close of these recycling centers has shown a dramatic increase in secondary recyclers,” Friedenbach said. “These people don’t have a place to recycle, and are forced to sell them at a cut rate to people in trucks.”

Those trucks driving around with ill-gotten hauls of recycling? They may increase without the presence of all those recycling centers -- because they’re competitors. In addition, closing the the centers outright may not even now be as necessary as new regulations from the state, via CalRecycle, limit the amount of recyclables processing centers can take at any one time.

“January 1 there was a reduction in the daily load limit,” Marc Oldfield, communications director at CalRecycle told us. The previous limit of 500 pounds of aluminum or plastic was reduced to 100 pounds, closer to the average CalRecycle found most customers brought in. Oldfield was cagey about how his phrasing, but implied the new limits were meant to curtail the recycling black market.

“That could potentially affect the ‘business material’ coming in,” he said.

Closing recycling centers has deleterious effects on businesses as well: when they close, state law mandates that local shops pick up the slack. Mom and pop liquor stores, grocery stores, and most shops that sell cans and bottles would be required to buy-back cans and bottles (like a recycling center) or pay a $100 a day fee. That’s upwards of $35,000 a year. 

The small business commission was so worried about the impact on independent store owners that they started an outreach program to educate them on their options just last year, which we’ve covered before. 

But you know, at least people in the neighborhood won’t have to be subjected to poor people. That’s what matters, right? 

Comments

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

But do they refund you your can/bottle deposit when they do blue bin pick up? That would be a big NO!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 9:24 am
Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 10:44 am

Save up your cans and bottles for a month and you've got $25 to $30.
If you would rather give that extra money to Recology for the privilege of being charged another $25 per month, fine.
But throwing away $300 per year matters to some of us, and we would prefer to get back our deposit.

Posted by Fukyutrolls on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 11:41 am

worthwhile compensation for the time and energy expended, unless you are homeless or indigent.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

so 12 per year. More faulty reasoning with dashes of assumptive name calling and self-absorption.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 1:06 pm

having the space to store month old beer bottles, along with tolerating the smell from them.

Why, when they can be taken from my front door weekly?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 1:48 pm

Your purposeful obtuseness is kinda sad.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 5:15 pm

Class Warfare = a sign of a very sick society.
The Haves versus The Have-Nots

Posted by GuestInTheCastro on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

Nevius is the irritant. Not the poor.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

except with a giant stick up his ass and his brain removed.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 5:17 pm

CW Nevius is nothing like Herb Caen in any way, shape, or form.

CW Nevius isn't fit to wash Herb Caens underwear.

You will retract this comment and apologize!

Posted by Strange de Jim on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 7:10 pm

Is that a flavoring which is no longer in use? Some kind of plant? A dish people no longer consume?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 7:28 pm

You are not worthy of this knowledge, Guest.

You may return to venerating Larry Ellison.

Posted by Strange de Jim on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

I have to reply to this article, an Asian man pulls up in his SUV each week and goes through our recycle bin, takes out all the bottles and cans, then moves onto the next house then the next doing the whole street.
I confronted him one day told him to stop stealing our recycles and that he was thief, if I

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 7:41 pm

Why was it important to say an "Asian man?" As opposed to "a man?" What does his ethnicity have to do with anything? (Answer: Nothing. Irrelevant).

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 7:54 pm

What's the deal with immigrants flying over from Asia with the job prospect of intersecting the recycling stream?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 8:17 pm
Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 8:30 pm

Just curious as to how the economics would work of buying a four figure ticket to the US and trying to set up shop via recycling and collecting cans out of the trash, what was the decision making process there over the kitchen table, how did the immigrant fill out their legal forms if their chosen profession was in intercepting recycling and how do you get to move here with those prospects?

Posted by marcos on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 8:49 pm

Why do you care what happens to it afterwards?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 5:49 am

Actually, but City code, once the bin is set out, the commodities are owned by Recology, so the guy is stealing from Recology. Since the commodity revenues and expenses offset the cost of the garbage collection, these thieves are subsidized by all of the rate payers.
This is BS that this is anything but a theft issue. People who rummage through blue bins are thieves. Nothing else.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 11:45 am

recyclables". He should have said "stealing Recology's recyclables".

Although I fail to see how something thrown out can belong to anyone.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 12:58 pm
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Posted by http://jrnGX9rTdwwnNeHYtbYl.net on Mar. 30, 2014 @ 5:39 pm

LOL - oh the irony!!

Posted by guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

I've lived within a 5 block radius of where the old Haight Ashbury recycling center used to be located for the past 15 years and I have to say that the place never bothered me. The bottle scavengers rarely left a mess for me to clean up and at least they were making an effort to work for a living. In my opinion the closure of the recycling center has not reduced the number of transients in the Haight (assuming that was the goal of shutting the place down). Rather, it has simply removed the homeless people who were trying to better their situation and replaced them with a far seedier group of people.

As far as the "mom and pop liquor stores", I have absolutely zero sympathy. For the most part, they are part of the problem - feeding off people's misery one plastic pint of Royal Gate vodka at a time. Take Frank's at Haight and Cole for instance. That place is nothing short of a blight on the community.

And a quick note about Friedenbach, I have respect for her efforts to help the less fortunate, but she needs to buy some smaller brushes. She always seems to paint everyone using the widest she can find.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 8:42 pm

Happy Meal McMar might be the most useless member on the BOS. A truly remarkable achievement given this bunch of losers.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

No, that would be the elitist D8 supervisor as the most useless.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 10:21 pm

Now there's a guy who really wants to tell everybody how to live -Soda Tax Scotty.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 11:41 pm

So Mar doesn't tell people how to live or wastes time on useless resolutions that have no actual value? Telling McDonald's they need to keep toys out of Happy Meals because parents are too stupid to properly discipline their kids? Writing a resolution telling the Grammys they need to reinstate a number of their categories?

You say Scott Weiner is a person who wants to tell everyone how to live because he's imposing a soda tax? What does that make Mar since he also had his own proposed soda tax? Oh wait. In your world that makes him a visionary and doing the right thing for kids and fighting the obesity epidemic.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

I never said I agree with Mar on this issue either, but you guys all seem to think your shit don't stink.

Posted by Greg on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 11:30 pm

You really need to get out of your little progressive bubble Greg. Wiener is nowhere close to being "right wing". In any other city in 98% of the country, he'd be middle-of-the-road to left wing.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

He just doesn't see that Obama, Newson, Lee are all liberals

Posted by Guest on Jan. 19, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

"Mar calls for hearing on recycling center evictions"

Good.

Might the "neighbors" who celebrated the closing of this center be the new techies (tech is known to be anti-homeless) in those "luxury designer condos" across the street from Safeway and opening soon next door to Safeway?

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

'Might the "neighbors" who celebrated the closing of this center be the new techies '

We have no reason to think so but lets go with it anyway!!! Great thinking, fellow Guest....blame the techies!

SFBG...get someone to make up a story on this...STAT!!!!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

Could be. These condos are being bought by (or rented by in the case of the condo building across from Safeway) by techies. That's been widely reported in the corporate media.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 14, 2014 @ 11:46 pm

IOW, I want to believe X but have no evidence for it.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 5:50 am

The center is closing because the OWNER of the property, Safeway, wants more rent for the property. It has nothing to do with the neighbors.

These bullshit articles always make me laugh because they take non-issues and then based on zero facts spin some vast conspiracy theory. The article goes on insinuating that unidentified "neighbors" are supposedly behind the recyling center closures, and the proof offered? Oh, there is none!

The article simple ignores the true and obvious reason for the closure of recyling centers: The property owners (usually private property owners and in one case the City) want to use the land for something else.

Also, there is no value in having some "re-collect" cans out of other people's recyling bins. That is just make do drudge work that keeps someone in poverty and serves no purpose since the cans are already being collected to go to recyling.

If Mar truly cared about the poor, then he would propose an ordinance to fund a program to hire low-income and homeless people to work for the City DPW and give these individuals a real job with a real salary and benefits. Instead, he and the other poverty pimps are happy to keep these individuals living in poverty "re-collecting" cans that have already been collected for recyling.

Posted by Chris on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 7:52 am

So, now the closing of recyling centers is allegedly some form of class warfare on the poor and homeless? What utter nonsense.

The centers are not closing because allegedly "rich" neighbors don't want to "rub shoulders" with poor people, but because the property owners, such as Safeway, want to get more rent for their property, now that the land is worth more. There is no push by neighbors to get rid of recylying centers, and it is complete bullshit to claim that "rich" or affluent people don't recyle. Yes, they do. In fact, most people in SF do because we all have the recyling bins in our apartments, condos, and homes.

The City is welcome to provide recycling centers on public land if there is a need for them. Also, if some poor people take recyling that has already been collected by the City's recyling program (i.e. "secondary recyling" ) and then trade in bottles/cans for cash, then why not instead create job training programs for those individuals or just give them city jobs that would actually pay more and provide benefits, rather than saying, "Oh, gee, they are poor, let's just see how we can keep them scraping by performing a bleak and useless task of recollecting cans that were already collected for recyling by the city program." The poverty pimps love to keep poor and homeless people in their desperate situations, and they don't really want to help them because then they would lose their own well-paying "advocacy" jobs and political clout.

If Mar cares so much about the issue, then here is the solution: Set aside more city funds to hire low-income and homeless individuals to work for the Department of Public Works. Give them a real job with a real purpose instead of collecting cans out of other people's recyling bins that are already going to be recycled. Problem solved, Mar. Cancel your phony hearing and pass the ordinance.

Posted by Chris on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 7:46 am

about homeless people when he started his crusade against the Safeway recycling center. The city just closed the HANC recycling center that sat on public land.

Where are you going to get the funds for your public job creation idea? Without money, it is just diversionary, just like the call from landlords for local subsidies to boost rent controlled rents.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

"Wiener cited complaints from his constituents about homeless people..."

Phew! This guy is such a corporate tool of the Real Estate Industrial Complex and their corrupt liars. His supporters constantly claim that "he listens to his constituents." Reality: He listens to his supporters only. He listens to the wealthy and the whiny, self-entitled NIMBY homeowners who think they are above seeing homeless people---because of some old moldy home they got suckered into buying years ago---and who pretend to be a "Christian." Would Jesus be whining about the homeless, so-called "Christian" hypocrites in D8?

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Posted by ex3 on Mar. 29, 2014 @ 11:13 am

You mention second-hand one alleged "citation" by one Supervisor in one case of a recycling center closing, and supposedly this is evidence of causation in all the other recycling center closures? No, sorry. The real reason most centers are closing has to do with property owners wanting to use their property for other uses and/or to get higher rents than a neighborhood recycling center could pay.

As for the money? Where does the city get the money to plant and maintain flowers in the median on Van Ness by City Hall, or to install "park lets," or build new bicycle lanes, or give grants to non-profits? Where is the city going to get the money to enforce the new announced "crackdown" on motorists who commit moving violations? Where would the city get the money to enforce policies to slow evictions? It is all a matter of priorities, where there is a will, there is a way. Whenever a group, including many posters here on SFBG, want to push a cause that will cost money to address, there is never a question of how the city will pay for it. The answer is simple, you have three choices: (1) Take money from lower priorities (like flowers on Van Ness), (2) borrow the money and/or get a federal/state/or private grant, or (3) raise taxes and or fees.

Mar's hearing is political theater and nothing more. It is his typical sort of bullshit response to "helping" the poor. The poor do not need to be can "re-collectors," they need real jobs with real wages and benefits. Mar could get the city to help get poor people real jobs if he had the balls to propose a meaningful ordinance instead of another bullshit hearing.

Posted by Chris on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 6:46 am

of homeless and poor recyclers was also cited as justification for closing down the HANC center. Option (1) provides little money for new jobs. Options (2) and (3) are both unlikely.

What alternative higher rent will the Market Street Safeway get from closing a recycling center that sits in its parking lot? I'd like to know.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 9:49 am

Either option makes sense for Safeway. The company is in the business of making money--it wouldn't give two shits that neighbors complained if it was lucrative to keep renting to the recycling center. The recycling center is a legal use, so neither Weiner or anyone else cold force Safeway to stop renting to them, not would Safeway stop renting to them if a recycling center were truly the most profitable use of the land.

Also, I see you implicitly admit through your silence that I am correct that Mar's hearing is bullshit and that "re-collecting" cans is not real work that helps anyone rise up out of poverty, and that if Mar really wanted to help the poor he would sponsor an ordinance to direct funding to either job training programs or simply hiring poor and homeless individuals to work at the DPW and other city agencies. But, of course, as is the case with any true poverty pimp, Mar doesn't give a shit about truly helping the pot or homeless.

Posted by Chris on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 11:24 pm

(1) Option 1 does not provide "little money" for new jobs--I merely used the flowers in the median as an example, collectively the City spends hundreds of millions of dollars on things that are nice but not essential services, and when you have people that are poor or homeless, their needs should trump fliers, bike lakes, parklets, etc. Also, if Option 2 or 3 are unlikely, then how is the City to pay for more police enforcement to crack down on misbehaving motorists, or increase funding for Muni, or fund policies to help stem evictions, or any of the myriad other costly policies that SFBG and progressives like to promote? Why is it that there is never a hands-up in defeat air of "Oh, it would be nice, but we simply cannot afford it," when it comes to pushing a cause dear to the progressive agenda? Again, where there is a will, there is a way.

If Mar were sponsoring an ordinance to provide more jobs for the poor and homeless, you would be singing his praises, not questioning where the money for it would come from, and again, I laid out three specific ways to fund it, that require nothing more than the political will to get them done.

Posted by Chris on Jan. 17, 2014 @ 11:34 pm

"Mar wants a hearing". I went to a Mar hearing before. He stacked the speakers with those who he supported, then left the hearing when others (who he opposed) got up to speak.

Posted by Richmondman on Jan. 15, 2014 @ 11:49 am

When the recycling centers close, push your shopping cart loaded with dripping can bags into the store. I'll be shopping at the grocery store that is convenient for me to use (groceries, recycling, banking). I take my recycling money and buy groceries.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 16, 2014 @ 10:59 pm

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