WTF, Chuck: Repeal the bottle bill?


Now, I thought we were all going to have to pay money to read the wisdom of C.W. Nevius, but here it is, for free, right on sfgate: Nevius is calling on California to repeal the "bottle bill," the measure that requires a (modest) deposit on cans and bottles and that has been widely credited for making this one of the leading places in the world for recycling.

His argument: People are stealing recyclable material and selling it. This leads to drugs. (Seriously, this leads to drugs: "It hurts everybody," says Adam Alberti, a spokesman for Recology, the city's garbage collection firm. "We have heard reports of (scavengers) being paid in drugs instead of cash.")

And, of course, criminal syndicates that underpay desperate people. The old Haight Asbury Recycling Center, which Chuck hated so much, demonstrated how the syndicate racket doesn't have to work, since small-time individual bottle-pickers could get there without a truck and keep all the money. Oh, but that was also leading to drugs. So now it's gone. Amazing, Chuck, the law of unintended consequences.

Anyway: Criminal syndicates aren't a good thing. Wall Street, for example. Certain landlords and businesses that prey on the weak and don't pay their taxes. Or the people who cheat their low-wage trash-diving workers.

But on the scale of all the things wrong in the world, and the city, this has to be pretty small-time. Because the bottom line for me is this:

The stuff is getting recycled.

That's what we want, right? We don't want bottles and cans in a landfill. From a strictly environmental viewpoint, it makes no difference if Recology picks the stuff up and makes money off it, or if a poor person picks up the stuff and makes money (except not in the Haight any more) or if some explotive syndicate hires people to pick the stuff up. It gets to the same place.

Again: Not supporting the criminal syndicates. Their workers should get fair pay, like all workers. Still, repealing the bottle bill seems like a pretty crazy way to address this modest problem.




Somebody should explain to Chuck that there is a difference between a deposit center, where you turn in bottles to get back the extra nickel you paid per container, and a recycling center, where one earns a tiny bit of cash for turning in bulk recyclable materials by the pound. I don't see how repealing the bottle bill would stop people who are hard up for cash from gathering cans to sell by weight.

Posted by rebecca on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

Exactly! I believe we need to stop paying the deposit because I would guess over 90% of the people who redeem have more than the minimum to get 5 cents per bottle/can, they get paid by weight. It is a tax that has lost the intended benefits, materials continue to get more valuable as demand increases for those materials.

But if anyone doesn't think the homeless are not buying drugs and alcohol with the money wake up and smell the reefer, colt 45, crack etc...

The police don't care but the citizens do and we deal with the homeless making a mess on the street everyday. They leave a mess, deficate and commit crimes. It is time to rethink the process and the bottle bill. All factors need to be considered because the unintended consequences are getting worse in San Francisco.

Posted by Sean on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 7:32 am

Doesn't being reactionary to the ramblings of the Chron's columnist become boring?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

1) Sit down and read the Chron

2) Feel a sense of outrage about what is normally a fairly centrist, middle-of-the-road opinion

3) Write a SFBG article dissing the SFGate article

4) Notice how 1,000 times more people read the Chron article than the SFBG article, and feel really inadequate

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

Here are the steps to being an SFBG troll:

1) Sit down, leave the rightwing website you were at and go to SFBG website, then read the latest political piece by one of the BG writers

2) No matter what is expressed, write something with the complete opposite opinion and say something to the effect that one would have to be pretty stupid or employed by the BG to think otherwise.

3) Go back to the rightwing website you left before coming here and check back every ten minutes to see if anyone has responded to the BG piece and then cheer on those against the piece or respond to your own comment.

4) Be struck by how worthless your life is that the only joy in your life is to harass the writers at a website that you completely disagree with politically just to be as big a pain-in-the-ass to them as you can.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

and they spend it composing overly-long odes to trolls. While talking about how trolls talk too much.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

Half the fun of coming here really, given that debates are rather too easy to win here for it to be real sport.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

Well at least you acknowledge your main purpose being here is to just create noise which is why they should ban your loser ass from posting here. As for winning debates, if the prior lame post is your idea of forming a strong argument, your debating skills are laughable.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:50 pm

Whoever he or she is.

But, er, how?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 6:06 am

That must be you - how often do you post here anyway? How often are you on this website - half the day? And you're talking about others having too much time???!!! Too funny.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:40 pm

Guest, meet Guest.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 6:07 am

It isn't true that "Nevius is calling on California to repeal the 'bottle bill,'" If you read the article Nevius explains the syndicate problem, with corroboration from Police Chief Suhr. At the end, 3 lines from the bottom, Nevius writes "Maybe California should repeal the bottle bill. It would remove any incentive for theft". That's all, and it is a perfectly fine idea to suggest. If you look at what Tim writes you would think that Nevius made a significant effort to justify the repeal of the law instead of one line.

Someone else a few comments up said of trolls "the only joy in your life is to harass the writers at a website that you completely disagree with".

Well, they deserve to be harassed because so much of what they say is either highly misleading or outwardly false. This stuff can be Googled and read by people who don't realize that what they are reading is largely fabricated. It is wholly irresponsible of Vogt and the Examiner to allow this stuff to be published in a manner that could be so easily confused with journalism. It's just wrong.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 4:07 pm

Nevius did not urge that the law be repealed.

He merely said that the idea merits consideration.

Tim did not read the Chronicle article. He was itching to launch into a diatribe and couldn't wait.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 5:02 pm

C.W. Nevius should really be a writer for some newspaper in a wealthy part of Connecticut, and not a writer for S.F. I've never seen anyone at any newspaper publish more disturbing classist editorials. Not only does he want to completely eliminate any sight of the poor from San Francisco, he also wants to eliminate any type of social services or profit-making activity we have available to us. I've live in Boise, Idaho, and Portland, Oregon, and I've never seen such a classist city columnist. Can we airlift him to some place that deserves him, please? Maybe Scottsdale? I'm sure we can scrape some cans together for it while the law is still in place.

Posted by HeartTenderloin on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

A "classicist"?

As opposed to a "romantic".

Somebody has been studying his C. XVIII political science.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 04, 2013 @ 9:11 pm

The bottle bill is Cali's most effective recycling and anti-litter program. Repeal it? No way! Bottle bills are in place all of the world because they work. In fact, in the US, the ten states with bottle bills recycle more containers than the other 40 states combined.

Posted by Steve on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 11:30 am

If CA recycles more than WY, that shouldn't shock anyone as it has 100 times the population.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 11:47 am

So that stores bigger than a corner store have to take them back for the redeemed value.

I would take mine back in person if that was the case.

As a plus the stores could sell hobo's more alcyhol and hard boiled eggs.

Everyone wins.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 05, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

I already pay my garbage fee so why should I be concerned that homeless are taking can and bottles out of curbside? Why is Recology getting CRV anyways? They already get a processing fee to pay for their part of the process in the chain. All of that money should be donated back into the fund as abandoned funds, paying for the program. Is the concern to protect Recology's material or ensure recycling rates in California?

"The city is setting records for recycling, and most restaurants, apartments and homeowners aren't bothering to collect their refund." Perhaps SF Gate should be writing articles to bring awareness on how small business owners can save money rather than try to influence dismantling of one of the most comprehensive pieces of extended producers responsibility legislation in the US. The city is shutting down recycling centers forcing the material on SF neighborhood recyclers. I try to recycle 50 glass bottles once a week and I'm refused often because they are full. The city should be helping these companies open more locations rather than cancel a bill that generates a lot of jobs. Help me as a citizen of SF, don't burden my life.

The redemption is the short view. The long view is job creation. With major plastic manufacturing NorCal there is a demand for raw materials (cullet, pellet, etc). Raw materials keeps jobs in the US. I agree, Nevius's NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude is classist.

Welcome to California, where everyone imposes regulation and doesn't have the experience/budget to enforce it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 06, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

Hi, thanks for sharing.

Posted by card on Apr. 11, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

Hi, thanks for sharing.

Posted by tiger on Apr. 12, 2013 @ 3:26 am

"Not supporting the criminal syndicates. Their workers should get fair pay, like all workers."

So you'd support them if they paid minimum wage?

SFBG is venturing in to the realm of self-parody.

Posted by Remy Marathe on Jul. 22, 2013 @ 8:20 am