City May Lose Recycling Revenue to State Budget Cuts

San Jose could lose a $255,000 annual allotment from the state, if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to cut a statewide recycling program goes through.

The city wants to formally oppose Brown’s plan to eliminate CalRecycle’s $10.5 million annual payment to cities and counties, which he lays out in his 2014-15 budget proposal.

Revenue from the Beverage Container Recycling Program gives San Jose money to host zero-waste events and clean up litter from its creeks and waterways. It’s helped improve statewide recycling rates from 52 percent in 1988 to 82 percent in 2011, the city says, from 13 billion containers a year to more than 16.7 billion.

Brown’s proposal would also cut funding to recycling programs by 55 percent, from $133.6 million to just $73.8 million, and get rid of curbside payments used to compensate waste scavengers. It would also pull funding for processing fee offsets, handling fees, conservation corps grants and curbside recycling programs.

“If passed, this proposed budget change will create real and tangible damage to the state’s recycling infrastructure and the proposed restructuring is likely to have the effect of reducing the recycling of all types of materials,” states a memo signed by Kerrie Romanow, head of the city’s Environmental Services Department.

San Jose could certainly use all the clean-up revenue it can get. The city's home to one of the filthiest waterways in the Bay Area: Coyote Creek, which winds its way through downtown and whose banks are populated with dense homeless encampments.

More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for April 23, 2014:

  • The ever-opinionated David Wall thinks San Jose should take a cue from Morgan Hill and stop all residential development until we solve this drought-inducing water crisis.
  • Four years ago, some developers wanted to build an assisted living facility in Councilwoman Rose Herrera’s district, so they asked for a zoning change. But those plans never materialized, so Herrera wants the site converted back to non-urban hillside.

WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. San Jose City Counsel spends $250k like most people spend 25 cents… Upwards of $5 BILLION in debt right now. Issues like this make headlines because Reed wants you to think he’s fiscally conservative. Just like his Pension Reform and “Transparency” in government, it’s a sideshow to distract taxpayers.

  2. I join the “ever-opinionated David Wall” in his opinion.
    But so what. After all, this IS San Jose where the opinions of mere citizens are superseded by those of developers, unions, and subsidized housing advocates.

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