A misguided new California law prevents people from selling recycling if they do not have a valid state ID card.
On the rare sunny San Francisco day, people don’t flock to the beach as much as you’d expect-they head to the inland parks since often the beach is still cold. Dolores Park, one of the most popular sunny day hang-outs, will be jam packed on these days, leading to overflowing trashcans and recycling bins.[social_buttons]
Luckily, there seem to always be a loyal handful of people wandering through the park collecting beer cans and water bottles from the partiers and picnickers. What’s their motivation for their almost surreal helpfulness? Well, a trade-in value of about 5-cents for each bottle or can.
But now the state is preventing many of these people from making their meager living.
Proponents of the law say that drug addicts use the rebate credit to feed their addictions, which very well may be the case. But really, is this the best way to help those people fight their addictions? Seems like a pretty backwards, mean-spirited idea to me, not to mention that many people who are collecting cans are simply trying to feed themselves. The law does nothing but make it harder for people to actually find a way out of homelessness.
And what about the environmental impact of the law? These people walk through the streets and pick recyclable items out of the public trash cans, saving them from landfills. People doing this should be encouraged, not made to jump through hoops in order to cash out their cans.
Not only will they now need to show a valid state ID card, but to exchange aluminum cans and other metallic cans, they will have their photograph and thumb-print taken, and then money will be withheld for 3 days. This action is due to metal theft from construction sites or vehicle parts, which is a legitimate problem-but why not exempt those who are merely cashing in aluminum cans?
Some San Francisco residents complain that scavengers pick through their recycling bins when they are out for collection, but again, I don’t understand what the problem is here. San Francisco, along with many other Californian cities, pays to have their recycling sorted. The homeless men and women who collect from the bins are doing the same service and probably lessening the sorting costs for the city in the process.