The Loss of the Only Community Recycling Center in Ocean Beach

by on November 14, 2013 · 9 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach

recycle cansBy Colleen Dietzel / Special to the OB Rag

On September 25th Dan Regan was forced to close his Regan Recycling center behind Rite Aid that he has operated for 15 years.

Regan also operated the one on the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire Street before being forced out by World Oil with high rent.

At the Rite Aid site he was not receiving his handling fee from the State as a CRV center and could no longer stay open. California CRV zones are set up for you to be able to get your 5 to 10 cent deposit back for your beverage containers conveniently and so the beverage retailers don’t have to redeem them in the store.

In my conversation with Dan Regan on Oct 11th he said he was told by the State Cal Recycle rep that he was no longer in a CRV Zone because of Appletree Market’s closure.

recycle-binMy question was, I understood the law to state that all major retailers that do over $2 million a year are required to have a recycling center within a ½ mile radius or they would have to redeem the container in their store or face a $100 a day fine.

Wouldn’t that include all the liquor stores, Rite Aid and Peoples Co-op?

Regan told me that the State said that Rite Aid doesn’t qualify as a grocery store because it does not have meat or produce. I said what does that have to do with beverage containers, which is what CRV recyclers are there for. He questioned that also. Plus Peoples is a grocery store and I believe Olive Tree Market does sell fresh meat and produce.

When I called to speak to a Cal Recycle representative On Oct 11th I spoke to Kassandra. She said they have strict criteria for qualifying as a grocery store. They have to be in the Progressive Grocery Guide. They have to carry produce, perishables, household goods, ect.

I told her that People ‘s carries all of that except they don’t carry meat. They are a full-on grocery store and very popular. I said I talked to Nancy Cassidy the manager and she was going to speak to Marty Block, our state representative. Kassandra was going to call People’s and see if they would meet the criteria.

recycleI also asked her about all the stores that sell beverages and what responsibility they have in having a recycling center. She says they don’t force anyone to have one on their site but they have been notified that they are in an un-served zone and after a certain grace period if there isn’t a recycling center within the ½ mile radius of their business they will have to redeem the containers in the store themselves.

I explained what a hardship this was for many in Ocean Beach. She said they are trying to help him find another space and possible looking in to Stumps Market. She was very nice and she said just because they are in Sacramento she wants people to know that they do care. I have dealt with many government bureaucrats over the years and I felt she was sincere.

Regan has reached out to Kevin Faulconer, Todd Gloria, Donna Frye and others for help. They said they would try to help but it was a state issue. Our State Senator Marty Blocks notified Regan on Oct 10th that he was working on helping him and would try to get an exemption for OB.

Unless there is another unforeseen twist in the law OB doesn’t really need an exemption. People’s and Olive Tree are in the 1/ 2 square mile that is OB and that would put us in a CRV zone. Our State Assemblymember Toni Atkin’s office told me they would be in contact with Marty Block’s on the issue.

An underlying problem here is that the State doesn’t have the money it once had for the CRV program because once the recession hit, people started collecting their 5 cent deposit back when they hadn’t needed it before. That said, the State needs to follow the law and fulfill its obligation to facilitate a recycling center in OB. Many seniors, schools, churches, retired military and people on the street relied on Regan Recycling.

Regan has always kept his Centers clean and well operated. He doesn’t allow shopping carts or intoxication when dealing with the community members who are unfortunately homeless. For those that are happy to see it close because of the help it gave the homeless I would ask you if you really think the people collecting cans are the same ones panhandling or being aggressive. Now you will have more desperate people who may act out.

For those who want to help:

  • call Cal Recycle at 1-800-732-9253.
  • Call our State Senator Marty Block’s office at 619-645-3133 and
  • our State Assemblemember Toni Atkins at 619-645-3090 and encourage and thank them for their help.
  • Also call our Councilman Kevin Falconer 619-236-6622 and
  • Interim Mayor Todd Gloria 619-236-6633 and encourage them to influence the state.
  • Also call our local community groups:
  • Ocean Beach Planning Board, check website,
  • Ocean Beach Town Council 619-515-4400,
  • Ocean Beach Main Street Association 619-224-4906
  • and anyone you can think of that could have an influence in getting our recycling center back.

After all this is OB. If we do speak up most of time they will listen.

Update as of 10/31/13 Kassandra called and left a message that unfortunately Peoples Co-op does not qualify but CalRecycle will be looking into the issues of co-ops in the spring.

As of 11/5/13 Dan Regan said he has not heard from the state. He said the grace period for the businesses to have a recycling center in their area is 90 days. After that they will have to pay a $100 a day fee or take the containers in the store themselves. I will try to do further follow-up but please post comments if you obtain any further information.

Collen Dietzel runs the Green Store/ Center and as she also manages a recycling gig, Colleen is probably the top expert on recycling in Ocean Beach.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler November 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I hate to be that person, but I am EXTREMELY happy that the recycling center closed. As someone who lives in the “warzone,” I’ve noticed a massive improvement in the amount of litter, traffic, and noise in my alley that was always caused by people who decide to make a living off of canning. That’s what the center ended up being for.


Tom November 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm

So if Rite Aid does >$2M/yr, they’ll be on the hook for $100/day or $36.5K/yr unless there’s a freestanding CRV center, and there can’t be a freestanding CRV center unless there’s a grocery store with fresh produce and meat? Maybe you could contact the manager of Rite Aid, so that they can let their lawyers convince the state to resolve the impasse?


michael realpeople November 14, 2013 at 4:38 pm

I have to step on my soapbox for this one, thank you for following up for Regan..

For years, my family, friends and neighbors have all taken the time to be proactive in the care and disposal of as much waste in our little OB neighborhood as much as possible. We have taught our children not to litter, pick up trash on our own sidewalks, donate time to Surfrider and the Annual Beach Clean-ups and even more… 2 times per month we would walk our bright blue recycling containers from the corner of Cable and Saratoga, down Cable, cross the lights at Newport, up the alley by OB Bike Shop and to the back of Rite-aid. Our cans would be full of the beer cans, bottles and plastic containers that we took the time to PROACTIVELY pick-up and make sure that they did not end in the landfill, wasting away our Mother Earth… it was the right thing to do..

The closing of Regan’s harmless little business has created more issues in OB that I think that anyone could have ever imagined for the stupid $100.. I have heard comment after comment that the “homeless will leave now that there is no money to be found”, but in reality, the people that have the balls enough to say that, seem to be the same people that walk right by the bottles and the cans in the grass to begin with. Was I a fan of the people digging through my cans early in the morning? Not really.. but I am also not a fan of walking to the beach or to dinner on Newport with my family and children, counting the now endless stream of bottles and cans that no one cares about anymore.

There needs to be a change on the zoning to accommodate Regan, or at least another recycling disposal source soon. Complain about the people in alley, complain about the cost of exposure, complain about the zoning and what we can and cannot legally do…

….and I will complain about the people that continue to make it someone else’s problem and walk by the same cans and bottles that I have chosen to pick up and do the right thing..

Michael Realpeople


Tyler November 15, 2013 at 6:15 am


I’m up every morning picking up trash on the beach and I pick up trash along the way whenever I’m on a walk with my dog or otherwise. When some idiot let go of pounds of packing kernels on bacon street last year, I was one who actually cleaned it up. I was up at 6:30 AM July 5 to personally clean up the 2 square blocks around my home. I’m not trying to prop myself up here, but please don’t try to label me or anyone else just because we find what the canners were doing to be annoying and counter productive.

I’ve yet to see an influx of more cans and bottles than I did before the closing. While it seems ~75% of canners have now left, there are still enough around to end up grabbing everything left around. In fact, the few canners I’ve still seen around are some of the more courteous ones I’ve met over the years and are generally respectful about creating a mess. Yeah, it may take an extra few hours for them to find that can, but they will. And I think a can laying around for an extra day is WAY better than trash flying out of dozens of dumpsters and receptacles and into our streets and sewers. I used to have to pick up the trash daily in the alley and by the storm drain. I’ve only had to do that once since the center closed. I’m no longer being woken up by someone breaking glass and crushing cans at 3 AM just outside my house, not to mention their use of my wall as a place to urinate.

The bottom line is its 2013 and the city has given practically everyone a free and easy way to recycle. While it sucks that some people come to our town and buy a soda and throw it in the trash on Newport, that’s not grounds to have all the chaos and litter that the canners cause. I would happily donate money to get recycling bins put next to a few trash cans on Newport.


michael realpeople November 15, 2013 at 8:40 am


I think we are saying the same thing, but to a lesser degree.. I, too, was there on July 5th cleaning up someone else’s mess, perhaps we were there together and did not know it.

I am not sure what alley you live in and I respect your thoughts, but the people in my alley seemed to take care and get in and get out, maybe that is the difference. I would probably have a different approach if that was the cause…

Either way, we need a change.. we lost the convenience of having Appletree and now we have limited access to condensed recycling.

OB is quickly losing it’s neighborhood feeling of selfless caring…


Debra November 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I just want to say Michael and Tyler–THANK YOU for all you do!!!!!!!!!!!


Dave Rice November 15, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Olive Tree has to qualify as a grocer – they sell fresh meat, produce, and other general provisions one would expect at a supermarket – just in a very small size.


Doug November 23, 2013 at 9:02 am

Isn’t this another example of government lunacy? If there’s enough material to recycle who cares about the definition of a market? When government interferes with private enterprise the result is always impoverishment. I do hope the recycling center returns.


Nav February 2, 2018 at 6:20 pm

We own and operate a small liquor store in California. The store does not make > $2 million however we received a notice saying that we either need to establish a recycline center lr pay $100/day. How in the world do we do this in a small store with 1 employee. We have tried to call the phone numbers provided and left numerous messages but no one calls back. Why wouldn’t our store be exempt. Can you please send Kassandras detaiks.


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