- Spurred by concerns about homelessness, officials in Fresno, CA say they will look at closing down recycling centers in residential areas by next summer, as reported by YourCentralValley.
- In recent months, concerns have mounted about the connection between low-level crime and operations that offer money for bottles and cans. Some recyclers operate out of shipping containers and have been investigated for wage violations, as reported by KFSN.
- Fresno's city manager said an amendment will be introduced to the City Council in January giving recycling centers six months to continue operating under current standards before the city shuts them down. In a related development, the Fresno Police Department is also adding new officers to a homeless task force to address the issue citywide.
While the circumstances vary, this crackdown is similar to efforts to limit small-scale recycling operations for bottles and cans in other cities. Alliance Recycling — a longtime fixture in West Oakland — was recently forced to close after public pressure leaving many people who relied on it for income wondering what to do next. Some municipalities have also passed "anti-scavenging" ordinances and New York's Department of Sanitation has called out these "scavengers" as part of the reason residential diversion rates remain low.
Finding a balance between collectors and large-scale operations has been a challenge in states with bottle bills. California in particular has been cracking down on instances of recycling fraud and other violations, though in many cases individuals who are operating within the law depend on this money for their livelihood.
As California's redemption centers continue to close in large numbers, the state is still looking for a way to stabilize the system. The fixes required to do that involve much more than zoning and facility siting, but they are part of the larger conversation. If residents still support the concept of recycling and container redemption, some neighborhoods will need to host properly regulated facilities to do that.