A longtime recycling center in Santa Maria is set to close December 30th.
Larrabee Recycling on Blosser Road opened its door in 1970. Rising costs combined with a decrease in government funding is forcing the closure.
But the impact of the closing goes far beyond bottles and cans.
“This is going to be absolutely devastating for the community, which is what made this such a tough decision,” says Shannon Larrabee.
Partly responsible for the closure is unprecedented low prices for commodities like aluminum, glass, and plastic. CalRecycle, the states oversight on recycling programs, has also cut funding and incentives to recycle.
Larrabee joins hundreds of recycling centers across the state that are being forced to shut down, leaving small service centers at grocery stores to pick up the slack.
The center on Blosser accommodates hundreds of locals everyday. Some there to do their part, while others rely on the center to survive.
“We serve some of the poorest people in our community,” says Larrabee. “We have folks who walk in, ride their bicycles over, bring shopping carts full of recyclables. This gives them a legitimate source of income, and I’m just heartbroken to know this is going to make it so much more difficult for them to make that money.”
In 2016 alone, 66,000 people have visited the recycling center, recycling 2.7 million pounds of materials.
That calculates out to 34 million beverage containers.
Larrabee says CalRecycle will need to overhaul their entire program if recycling centers are going to remain open.
many will have to find