Recyclers are being gentrified out of their jobs, economy and survival

Phillip Standin... - Posted on 15 October 2013

Leontyne Smith

POOR Magazine focuses on poverty in all aspects; recycling is one of them, because poor people often do recycling as a very low-wage job.

We at POOR Magazine know that there is an ongoing attack on poor people and poverty revolutionaries who teach, practice environmental activism such as recycling. I relate to this story because my brother was a tree sitter for years in Humboldt California. Most of them were there to protest against cutting the trees and building various things on the property as well as make money off of it. A lot of people consider nature as a part of their life. Some indigenous people lead us to connect with trees, fresh air, and just the sounds of nature that can make you appreciate life and love mother nature.

A book was published about trees and recycling and how one woman stayed in a tree for a couple of years. She was from Berkeley and she wrote a book about all the experiences she had dealing with survival in the face of pimp organizations trying to cut the trees and stop the process of recycling. Environmental activism deals with all aspects of life. Now elite organizations are starting to do the same things in Urban areas, but instead of trees, they are eliminating recycling centers.

The Safeway on Church and Market has issued an eviction notice to San Francisco Community Recyclers. People were saying the eviction was for two reasons. First widespread availability of curbside recycling makes the facility obsolete, and second the facility has a negative impact on customers who shop at this location. This sounds like discrimination coming from a person with malicious intentions. I think that shutting the recycling center down is another form of gentrification.

Ed Dunn the general manager of SF Community Recyclers, confirms that the Church and Market location has been ordered to leave by September and he feels the recycling center was forcibly closed. Since 1987 San Francisco Recycling Center Network has been anchored by recycling centers located on Safeway parking lots. According to protesters, the eviction violates the California Bottle Bill. That bill required that all supermarkets have a recycling center within a specified area around their stores, or else they and all nearby retailers must accept recycling drop offs in stores. Still, after this law was issued, rich people went against it because of the power that they have.

Basically this is not an environmental problem, it is an attack on homeless people, and people who live in low income facilities. It is just like Jack Spade and the rich buying out family owned businesses and putting up stores that are extremely expensive to shop at. What are people going to do? I think everyone needs to think about this question because obviously the elite find ways to run around the laws that are intended to help poor people, and nobody is stopping them.


Sign-up for POOR email!