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By Tim Hunt

Pleasanton Garbage Service permanently closes Buy Back Center

Uploaded: Nov 5, 2020

As garbage bags of recyclable aluminum cans and plastic bottles pile up in my garage, I have been monitoring the Pleasanton Garbage Service website to see when the Buy Back Center would re-open.

It’s been shutdown since the shelter-in-place order took effect in March. Quite a surprise this week when I checked in and saw the notice that it had been permanently closed.

I reached out the city of Pleasanton and Becky Hopkins, the assistant to the city manager, responded and explained the situation. Contrary to what I thought, the city’s contract with Pleasanton Garbage does not require the recycling center, Hopkins wrote. The company was required to notify the city if it planned to permanently close the facility.

The city received a letter in late July with that notification. Hopkins said city staff met with owner Bob Molinaro and his daughter, Gina Molinaro-Cardera several times to discuss options to keep the center open. The city was notified on Oct. 5 that the company had sent a decertification request to the CalRecycle at the state.

Hopkins noted that in addition to other pandemic the entire redemption/recycling industry has struggled because companies redeeming the cans and plastic bottles do not have markets that allow them to sell the materials for enough to cover their costs and make a profit. The big change was China’s Big Sword policy in 2018 that banned the import of most plastics. For more than 20 years, China had processed most of the recycled plastic in the world.

She wrote that “ residents who want to register their complaints about the program can do so online at or
call Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan or state Sen. Steve Glazer's office as this is a State-run program that needs a legislative fix to make it financially feasible for Buy Back Programs be offered.”

There are two small operations in Livermore located at 1565 Olivina Ave. and 2680 Old First St. that are still operating. The recycling operation in the Ranch 99 shopping center in Dublin also has closed in recent months.

Incidentally, fluorescent light bulbs still can be dropped off at the transfer station on Busch Road.