Recycling Supervisor's Idea Becomes Citywide Program for Social Good in S.F.




To donate the unused portion of BART tickets to the Food Bank and to Friends of the Urban Forest just tape them to a blue bin

May 3, 2012

Tiny Tickets - BART Ticket & Recycling BinSAN FRANCISCO: David Nanney, a supervisor at Recycle Central, the recycling plant Recology operates in San Francisco to sort bottles, cans, and paper, noticed the occasional BART ticket moving across a set of screens inside the plant.

BART riders often have multiple tickets with remaining value and some people toss them in their recycle bin. But because the tickets are made of a very thin plastic and are lightweight they present a unique challenge inside the plant.

At Nanney's suggestion, plant management enlisted the help of the recycling sorters to watch for the occasional BART ticket and toss them in special collection boxes. In four months the value of the tickets collected in this way totaled more than $1,400. The tickets were turned in April 6 and the redeemed value will be donated to the San Francisco Food Bank and Friends of the Urban Forest.
"That feels great. These organizations do a lot of good," Nanney said.
Good idea upgraded
Managers overseeing Recology's collection operations in San Francisco heard about Nanney's idea and expanded the program. Previously, San Franciscans wanting to donate unused BART tickets to charity had two options: 1) mail them to a nonprofit registered with BART or 2) carry them to a donation box.

Recology managers say San Franciscans can now tape BART tickets earmarked for donation to the lid of their blue bin or hand them to a Recology recycling collector. That makes donating super easy.

David Nanney with BART TicketsWhen our drivers finish their route they will place all collected BART tickets in a donation box in our dispatch office. Recology will send all tickets collected to a community foundation that redeems them and sends the money to the two local nonprofit organizations. We call the new program Turning Tiny Tickets into Trees.

Friends of the Urban Forest promotes a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco's green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy. Recology provides compost to Friends of the Urban Forest to plant the trees in the city.

The Food Bank delivers food to 450 local nonprofit organizations, including neighborhood pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, homeless shelters, and youth programs. They will distribute food to more than 225,000 people this year.

"The Food Bank can turn each dollar donated into $6 worth of food. Donations from the tiny tickets can quickly turn into much-needed meals on the family dinner table," said marketing and communications manager Lisa Mizokami.