California recycling chain Replanet announced this week that it will go out of business and shut down 284 sites throughout the state, including 11 in the Bay Area, creating a potential desert of accessible locations to redeem recyclables.
San Jose Mercury News first reported the closure, which Replanet president David Lawrence blames on falling prices for materials like aluminum and plastic and increased overhead costs.
Of Replanet’s 11 Bay Area centers, two are San Francisco. Three years ago the company suffered a huge contraction, closing 191 centers and laying off 278 people across the state.
At the time Replanet blamed “unprecedented declines in commodities pricing of aluminum and PET plastic,” on top of minimum wage hikes and reductions in state fees.
Another 800 people, who kept their jobs following those cutbacks, will now be out of work.
San Francisco still have several open and active recycling centers, including those by Our Planet Recycling and the ubiquitous Sunset Scavenger.
In 2018, nonprofit Consumer Watchdog issued a report finding that 40 percent of state-certified recycling centers in the city had closed in the previous five years.
“Four counties—Sonoma, Tuolumne, Mariposa and Butte—have lost two thirds or more of their centers” since 2012, that report warned.
In 2012, San Francisco has 22 active, state-certified centers. By 2017 it was down to nine.