Mayor Ed Lee’s Last Action Expanded Recycling Program

Mayor Ed Lee's tenure as leader of San Francisco suddenly and unexpectedly ended Tuesday morning with news of his death.

In his last hours as leader of San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee took up the issue of recycling and small businesses.

Lee and state Sen. Scott Wiener held a press conference at Ted’s Market and Delicatessen on Monday to announce a recycling program to help small businesses responsible for redeeming items from the public.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in October, authored by Wiener, that authorizes CalRecycle to pilot five recycling programs statewide. Market owners — increasingly relied on as recycling centers close down — who don’t redeem recyclable items in their stores are subject to a $100 per day fine.

Five jurisdictions will be selected for the program to try different collection methods, like drop-off programs, mobile recycling, and reverse vending machines. San Francisco is expected to formally launch its program in 2019 — and major supermarkets have already started vying for pilot program status.

“San Francisco is a national leader in addressing climate change, and that includes our world-class recycling and composting programs,” Lee said. “We have long advocated for changes in our state law to eliminate barriers and improve access to beverage container recycling redemption.”

Adding to the grief that swept City Hall today, Wiener says that Lee was his “normal, jovial, and friendly self” at the recycling announcement. Their working relationship began about seven years ago when Wiener served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

“I’m floored that he’s gone,” Wiener says. “He was a decent human being who was deeply committed to our city.”

With little chance to relish the recycling program announcement, San Franciscans must say their farewell to Lee’s presence in the public sphere and rely on Supe. London Breed in the meantime.

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