In West Oakland, sometimes recycling isn’t so green.
West Oakland has long been plagued by air pollution. Now a concerned group of residents and environmental organizations may be close to realizing a plan that they believe will help improve air quality, stimulate new economic development in a largely stagnant neighborhood, and invigorate the city through new green industry facilities. Their proposal is to move two recycling companies from densely populated West Oakland neighborhoods to a new shared location at the old Oakland Army Base.
West Oakland Neighbors and the El Cerrito-based Global Community Monitor want to relocate one of the recyclers, Custom Alloy Scrap Sales, because of community concerns about heavy metals and other toxics emanating from on-site smelting operations. Unlike most Oakland recycling companies, Custom Alloy Scrap Sales processes scrap metal at its facility, rather than shipping it elsewhere.
The coalition of residents and environmentalists have collected more than five hundred signatures from the West Oakland community in favor of relocating the company, said Jessica Hendricks, program coordinator for Global Community Monitor. The coalition, which includes West Oakland Air Monitors and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, along with other community and environmental organizations, also plans to broaden its outreach. “We’ve been pretty West Oakland-specific but this is an Oakland-wide decision, so we want to expand the issue to the larger community,” Hendricks said…