City launches recycling program to make it easier for residents to redeem cash value

‘San Franciscans will have an easy, reliable way to earn cash for recycling’

San Francisco is set to launch a mobile recycling pilot program that will not only facilitate recycling, but also make it easier for residents to reclaim California Redemption Value cash deposits for recyclables.

The program, called the BottleBank, is being funded by the California Department of Resources and Recycling Recovery and begins Jan. 5 at two locations in The City.

To participate, residents can sign up online or in-person and receive bags with special barcodes. Participants can then fill up the 20-gallon bags with uncrushed CRV bottles and cans and drop them off at mobile collection sites, operated by the nonprofit organization San Francisco Conservation Corps.

Once the recyclables are counted, participants can get their refund amount deposited into their accounts. The funds can then be transferred to their bank or Venmo accounts, or transferred to a card for cash, according to city officials.

“Our city is home to a number of unique and first-of-its-kind zero waste programs, including our citywide composting program, and now, our mobile BottleBank recycling program,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Starting in January, San Franciscans will have an easy, reliable way to earn cash for recycling their bottles and cans, and our small businesses no longer have to worry about redeeming the bottles themselves or paying hefty state fines. It’s a win-win program that other cities across the state can model.”

Bottles can be dropped off at 501 Buckingham Way at the Stonestown Galleria parking lot and at 250 13th St.

“CalRecycle is looking forward to the rollout of the San Francisco’s pilot program’s second, mobile redemption phase launching in the New Year that we hope will expand much-needed redemption opportunities for San Francisco residents,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said.

To sign up for the program, residents can either download the BottleBank mobile app on the Apple or Android stores and set up an account; fill out an electronic account sign-up form at www.sfbottlebank.org; or use a kiosk at the mobile drop-off sites to receive a card.

The CRV redemption bags can be picked up at mobile drop-off sites and select retailers such as Safeway, Trader’s Joe, Rainbow Grocery, Whole Foods and Lucky Supermarket locations. For a limited time, participants who sign up early can get up to two free bags, according to city officials.

The program is being overseen by the Department of the Environment.

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