Do you recycle your plastic and glass bottles and cans? Yeah, well, good luck doing that in the future.
About three years ago, Half Moon Bay had a recycling center behind Safeway where we could take our recyclables (mentioned above) and trade them for cash. In September 2016, that center went poof! It just vanished in the night … not a trace. Nobody was notified. It bothered me enough that I decided to do some research about where it went and why it left.
What I came up with was a company out of SoCal called RePlanet. The young man I was speaking with didn’t know anything, so up the food chain I went. Turns out they closed more than 200 centers that year, Half Moon Bay being one. After letting the gentleman with whom I spoke know how the company left 30,000 Coastsiders in the lurch, I asked if there were any other outlets over the hill. Yes, there were (emphasis on were). There was one at Costco, another off Delaware Street in San Mateo and one more.
The thought of continuing to collect recyclables, sort them, take the tops off all the plastic bottles, bag them separately, and drive over the hill to redeem them didn’t spin my wheels, but what the heck — the money I’d get would pay for my gas and that allowed me to continue to do my small part in keeping our Coastside clean and our landfill just a little bit better off.
That all changed on Aug. 5. RePlanet closed all the rest of their centers (284 in all) and laid off another 750 people! (You can Google it.)
So, what now? Well, there is one other place in San Mateo that I went to about a month ago, but I have to say it appeared to be less organized than RePlanet, and I have no idea how the place came up with the totals it did, but I took the money and left.
I’ve been recycling my stuff and the stuff of a few others for about a decade now. That’s not to toot my own horn, but rather to feel some good about doing my part to help. It is a pain, but I always feel better leaving the recycling center knowing I helped.
Government has talked about the benefits of recycling for years. What are local governments doing to walk the talk? Not much so far.
It would be appropriate for state and local governments to contribute, to work together in partnership, to keep our state a little cleaner. Half Moon Bay, for example, collects 14 percent (a tax) from every Republic bill paid. Maybe the city could use some of that money to partner with a recycling company for the Coastside.
Now, what am I going to do with those 40-gallon bags outside filled with plastics and cans? Good question.
George Muteff lives in San Gregorio.