Kevin McCallum, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Craig Butcher used to be able to just drive down the street from his Rincon Valley home to a recycling center behind the Safeway on Calistoga Road.
It was so convenient, the retired Santa Rosa Junior College instructor would even throw his neighbors’ plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans into the back of his truck to ensure they stayed out of the landfill and to earn a little extra money to boot.
But at the end of last month, the company that ran the center, Ontario-based RePlanet, suddenly closed 191 centers around the state, including 17 of its 19 centers in Sonoma County.
The company, the largest private recycling operation of its kind in the state, cited higher operating costs, lower state subsidies and lower prices for bulk recycling on the commodities market as the reasons it scrapped so many recycling centers.
Now Butcher, 73, has to drive across town to the sole remaining RePlanet location in Santa Rosa in the G&G Market parking lot on West College Avenue.
“You want to do the right thing, then all of a sudden the way to do the right thing disappears,” Butcher said.The closure of the majority of RePlanet locations, some of which go by the name Nexcycle, leaves a gaping hole in the county’s recycling network.