- Alliance Recycling—which has been operating in West Oakland, CA since the 1970s—will be closing next month after years of pressure from residents and government officials.
- According to an investigation by the city attorney, Alliance has been issued more than 40 citations and nearly $18,000 in fines. While a hearing was originally scheduled to deal with these issues last year, the company decided to strike a deal with the city instead and agreed to close within a year.
- Some are concerned about what this will mean for people who make their living collecting recyclables and bringing them to the center. Alliance estimates it pays out $5 million a year for these items. The company hasn't found a new location and says discussions with the city have stalled.
City leaders say Alliance has been an issue in the neighborhood for more than a decade, though some say the amount of complaints seem to have increased as the area has become a more popular place to live. Many citations involved "obstructing public right of way," loitering, double-parking, and abandoned shopping carts.
Despite these issues, others have said that Alliance is a lifeline for these collectors—a number of whom are homeless—and that they'll have no source of income without the opportunity. This community of collectors was the subject of a documentary called "Dogtown Redemption" which aired on PBS last month.
While community opposition to waste and recycling facilities is not uncommon, the fact that Alliance attracts a steady stream of shopping cart traffic adds another layer to the situation. The city of Atascadero, CA passed an anti-scavenging ordinance last year and New York City officials say the practice is one factor for the city's low diversion rate.