Judge rules Fresno recycling operations can continue

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno's ordinance to shut down small recycling operations in parking lots has been ruled illegal by a Fresno County Judge, and California Grocers Association spokesman Aaron Moreno says grocers are happy.

"Obviously we are very pleased with the court's decision."

Grocers say if there is not a recycling center within half a mile of a store, state law says the store must either offer in-store recycling or pay a fine.

The city argued the recycling centers attract criminals and the homeless. Moreno says it is not the stores' or the recyclers' fault.

"Recycling centers haven't caused this problem and if you make recycling centers go away this population of people isn't going away."

The city also argued that since it offers curbside recycling, there is no need for recycling centers. But Moreno notes that deprives people of the right to get their money back.

"When you have curbside recycling people are making the decision to forgo their recycling deposits, but part of the law is to allow people the opportunity to redeem that deposit, otherwise it becomes a tax."

Judge Jane Cardoza's ruling was based on state environmental laws. She said the city was wrong to say closing the recycling centers would have no impact on the environment. She ruled the city must find a way to follow the rules.

"If they do move forward, as with the original ordinance we look forward to working with the city to find a way to deal with this issue in a way that allows us to continue complying with state law," Moreno said.

Because it involves continuing litigation the city has refused to comment on the ruling.

So, the parking lot recyclers can remain in business.
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