"Dirty" was the most frequent explanation Alhambra government representatives gave at a heated City Council meeting this week for why they were restricting private recycling. Supporters of local cash-for-recyclying facilities felt that was not a good enough reason: they argued further closures would be bad for business, the environment, and local residents.
In an effort to alleviate some of the "noise and nuisance" that the private sites created, the city passed an ordinance in June of last year creating new restrictions which would force all of the existing sites to shut down. Out of the city's five previous sites, only two remain — one in the parking lot of Albertson's on Commonwealth Avenue and the other at Fisher's Market on Alhambra Road. At the meeting on Monday night RePlanet Recycling, which manages the Albertson's facility, appealed the ordinance.
The primary concern over the recycling centers seems to be appearance, as city officials claim that many of them are "dirty" and unsightly. "I drove by there twice today, there must have been 10 to 15 people in line with their bags," Councilman Gary Yamauchi said about the Albertson's site. "I would rather see that shielded from the streets." Director of Community Services Mary Swink recommended that the Council deny RePlanet's request for a conditional permit to stay in its location in the Albertson's parking lot. She said the center is "detrimental to public interest, safety and health."
Albertson's store manager Michael Salinas countered that the recycling centers provide an essential service to the community since residents use them to bring in extra cash, in addition to bringing business to the store, where customers must redeem the vouchers from the recycling center. "You'd be doing a great disservice to the community," he told the Council.
Mayor Luis Ayala responded that the city might be willing to relocate the centers to industrial areas, but the future of recycling in Alhambra remains unclear. The Council decided to push any further discussion over the facilities until June 11, granting the existing facilities a temporary reprieve.
Most respondents to an Alhambra Source poll asking whether recycling-for-cash should be restricted were in favor of leaving the facilities as is. Out of 40 responses, 60% chose leave the facilities as is, and 20% supported a ban in residential areas. Take our poll and share what you think.