Closing of recycling centers putting pressure on Bay Area centers, hundreds wait in Union City

UNION CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Last week California's biggest chain of recycling centers closed all of its 300 locations. RePlanet closed Monday Aug. 5, leaving 750 people without jobs.

It's something that's putting pressure to the local recycling centers that are left in the Bay Area.

In Union City, 320 people waited throughout the day to cash in their recyclables, and the center is concerned it might have to close its doors by the end of this year.

RELATED: Line forms near recycling center in Union City

"They want their money. They want their California redemption value and we want to make sure they get reimbursed," said Tri-Ced's CEO Richard Valle.

Once the clock hit 4:30 p.m., a poster marked the last car allowed to cash in their recyclables. Lidia Gonzalez barely made it.

"I'm grateful either just to be able to take in my recycling and get the money for it," said Gonzalez.

A couple of cars ahead of her we met Nancy Devos with her bag of recyclables in the back of her bike.

Devos waited 45 minutes to get through the gates and is one of the new customers at Tri-Ced Community Recycling.

"Two other places closed down. We used to go to one around Industrial Parkway, but they closed the recycling the bottles sections of their business," said Devos.

Twelve days ago California's biggest chain of recycling centers, RePlanet closed nearly 300 centers statewide, including in San Francisco, Alameda and San Jose.

"We'll get around 320 customers. That's above 100 normal customers that we get. The delay is because so many customers are so new," said Valle.

Over 6,000 pounds of plastic were collected Saturday at the center. Now their question is where to sell it and make money to cover the cost?

Tri-Ced is California's largest nonprofit recycling operation. They've been in business for 40 years and now they're concerned that the trade war with China is going to put them out of business.

"Now, all those ports in China have been closed to us. So we are having to go as far as India, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and those countries are inundated with material and they can't take anymore," said Valle.

Union City Councilmembers say they saw this coming and tried to help Tri-Ced stay open.

"Asking about $800,000 interim compensation and we couldn't allow it so we only provided $400,000 and this is based on the consultant's recommendation," said Councilwoman Pat Gacoscos.
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.