The Environmental Committee works to protect the watershed and to educate the public on forestry issues, erosion control, hazardous waste, recycling, and other issues. We also monitor government policies and procedures.
River & Road Clean Up
with Save Our Shores
Annual Environmental Town Hall
Felton Community Hall
Watershed Festival of Events
Workshop/Conference on Water, Pollution and Green Solutions
First Saturday of the month
10:30 am at Henry Cowell State Park
(Second Saturday if first Saturday is a holiday weekend.)
Meetings are open to the public.
Call 338-6578 or email for information.
With profound regret, the Valley Women’s Club of San Lorenzo Valley (VWC), after thirty years providing this valuable service to our community, announces the closure of its SLV Redemption/Recycling Centers (SLVRR) in Felton, Ben Lomond, and Boulder Creek, effective July 1 this year. Both the Boulder Creek and Felton Centers will close entirely on June 30th. However, the Ben Lomond Transfer Station will continue to provide recycling drop-off services for their wide-variety of materials, but will not offer California Refund for beverage containers (CRV). As a result of these changes, there will be no CRV services in the San Lorenzo Valley after June 30th.
The closures are due to the new structure for recycling operations presented by the Santa Cruz County Public Works Department. The Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the County for San Lorenzo Valley recycling operations cover only drop-off services at the Ben Lomond Transfer Station. It also covers drop-off services for the Buena Vista Landfill in Watsonville. California Beverage Container Refund (CRV) services, otherwise known as aluminum can refunds, will not be included in the services the County intends to offer in San Lorenzo Valley or elsewhere. The County RFP no longer includes the Boulder Creek or Felton centers in the contract at all.
The Valley Women’s Club carefully evaluated whether or not to bid on the new, limited RFP. The Club also investigated possible solutions for continuing operation of the local centers and CRV services. Unfortunately, the VWC determined neither responding to the RFP nor operating CRV operations independently were viable. Recycling Centers Director Matt Harris explained, “The recycling drop-off centers and CRV program are intertwined in every way – equipment, transportation, storage, processing. Thus, there is no way to pull out of either program and keep the other program running. Also, all recyclable materials these days have extremely low value or even negative-value, so it has become impossible for our Centers to break even. In fact, CRV centers have been closing throughout California over the last few years. The State has failed to update their CRV programs in response to the changing market for recyclables.”
VWC President, Sheila De Lany, expressed the Club’s feelings saying, “The VWC truly understands the severe impact this will have on those counting on our Recycling Centers and CRV refund program, and shares their distress and frustration. We’re also concerned about our remarkable team of employees, who have dedicated many years to serving our community. Now, after as long as 15 to 28 years, they are losing their jobs. Supervisor McPherson was successful in adding environmental considerations and hiring preference to the RFP. That might help some of them find new positions at the Ben Lomond site.”
Closing the centers will also impact the markets and liquor stores that sell beverages and that have provided the service of cashing the refund “scrip” for Recycling Center CRV customers for thirty years – an amazing partnership. The stores, under CalRecycle requirements, will be obligated to seek an alternative way to provide CRV service to their customers. This is a complex and challenging undertaking, including getting State certification, County permits and finding a site for operations. Until then, customers will have to find their way to the next closest CRV center, the Costco Gas Station at 220 Sylvania Ave, Santa Cruz, CA. CalRecycle’s website has hours of operation and locations for all area CRV centers.
The Valley Women’s Club is committed to championing recycling as a vital way to reduce resource depletion, reduce climate change, and to prevent litter and pollution. The Club will be working to solve the CRV problem locally and to have legislation introduced, passed and signed that will provide incentives for materials processors to start accepting and paying for recycled materials. Recycled papers, plastics, glass and metals materials need to be converted into the forms needed for manufacturers to use to make new products – making it possible for CRV and drop-off centers to survive and thrive. But recycled material processors have traditionally operated in China, and many of those foreign service providers are closing.
Community members are invited to join the VWC for this undertaking and its other endeavors. Information is available at www.valleywomensclub.org. Sunday, March, 24 the VWC will host its annual member potluck meeting at the Ben Lomond Senior Center in Highlands Park from 11:30-2:30 pm. The public is welcomed to attend this free event to learn more about the club and our environmental programs. Attendees are asked to bring a dish to share. The location of the event is 8500 Highway 9, Ben Lomond, CA. For more information about this and future events visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/valleywomensclub.