letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Why is the Mayor Ignoring Mobile Recycling Program Questions?


From late January to mid-March, I sent four e-mails to the mayor. When I got neither a response nor even an acknowledgment, I hand-carried a letter to City Hall, enclosing the unresponsive e-mails … but still no response.

My question dealt with the mobile recycling program, authorized in 2016 but still not implemented. I merely asked when this long-overdue program would  be operating.

I don’t understand why the mayor, or the mayor’s staff, feel free to ignore tax payers by not even acknowledging communications.

The mobile recycling program is sorely needed. More than 90% of San Francisco residents live nowhere near a recycling service. We are paying a cost at the register for bottles and cans and we deserve the benefits of recycling. Five years of inactivity in implementing program, and unresponsiveness to questions, creates a cynical attitude toward government.

I hope that this subject matter interests you enough to do a story. I can provide you with copies of the four ignored e-mails if you like.

Richard Lang

1 reply »

  1. Some links for edification on this matter:

    The mobile recycling program is The City’s response to the closures of many recycling centers in San Francisco, including those at large grocery stores and the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council’s recycling center in Golden Gate Park.

    While the recycling centers were closed largely due to complaints from neighbors, their absence has an impact on merchants. Under California’s 1986 Beverage Container Recycling and Litter Reduction Act, or Bottle Bill, if there is not an adequate supply of recycling centers then small businesses who sell redeemable bottles and cans have to step up to accept and redeem them. They face fines if they do not.

    To get out of the requirement, stores can pay $100 a day, but for many corner stores that’s a fee they can’t afford. Larger grocers, however, are able to absorb that cost.

    State Sen. Scott Wiener, who supported the closure of the Market Street Safeway’s recycling center when he was a member of the Board of Supervisors, passed a state bill in October 2017, Senate Bill 458, that allows innovative recycling programs, such as mobile services, to adequately serve the areas and relieve small businesses of the requirement.

    Under the bill, San Francisco has until January 2020 to submit an application for the pilot program to CalRecycle for approval. The City has yet to apply. An approved pilot could operate until January 2022, but the state legislature could extend the program if it’s deemed successful.

    To fund the pilot, The City sought $3 million this year from the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Fund. The money would have paid for such things as trucks and kiosks, processing spaces, labor and marketing.

    But The City failed to get it.


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