Cardboard piles up in San Francisco as recession hits recycling black market
A drop in the price for recycled cardboard has led San Francisco’s illegal recycling haulers, known as “mosquito fleets,” to stop collections. As a result, piles of cardboard are building up in front of businesses that expect the mosquito fleets to remove the debris, and the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) is attempting to educate residents about the proper time and placement for such pickups.
The price for recycled cardboard has fallen from more than $150 a ton to $35 because of the ongoing recession, according to the DPW, killing business for the mosquito fleets and cluttering San Francisco’s sidewalks. “This is an issue that affects the cleanliness of our streets,” DPW Deputy Director Mohammed Nuru said in a statement. “All recyclables, including cardboard, should only be placed out for collection when a licensed hauler is scheduled to pick it up.”
Along with educating businesses about the proper pickup times, the city is urging residents to report illegal dumping and sidewalk issues by calling 311 or going to www.sfgov.org/311.