Grey Bears runs Ben Lomond recycling

Grey Bears is now operating three recycling centers in Santa Cruz County: our main Chanticleer Reuse Campus, Buena Vista Landfill Recycling Center, and the Ben Lomond Transfer Station./our-programs/recycle/chanticleer-recycling-center/

If you’ve been following the news lately you’ve probably been hearing about  challenges with recycling. What used to be an industry accepting more and more materials has contracted over the past year due to global disruptions – especially with plastics. Every community in the U.S. has been affected, including Santa Cruz.

On a personal level there’s a lot we can do to decrease our use of plastic. Carry your own cutlery, plate, and reusable stainless steel or glass beverage containers, and stainless straw in your purse, pack or car. Click here for more tips.

In the face of adversity, especially in small and coastal counties like ours, grass roots, community-based organizations like Grey Bears are the secret to recycling success. In fact, it’s important to remain optimistic about recycling because real change is afoot.

Grey Bears has contracted with the County to operate the drive-through recycling centers at the Buena Vista Landfill and Ben Lomond Transfer Station, and for paper pick-up at County offices. Grey Bears will continue to accept recycling materials plus e-waste (TVs, monitors, computers, electronics) and EPS (Styrofoam) at its mid-county Chanticleer Reuse Campus.

Jerry and Michael sort donated books at Grey Bears for volunteers who will either list them on or sell for $1.50 each in their Chanticleer bookstore.

The biggest advantage of bringing your clean, source-separated recycling materials to one of the three Grey Bears recycling centers is to ensure that 99% of that material will be recycled and not end up in the landfill – or worse.

“We are excited to expand our recycling operations to the San Lorenzo Valley,” says Tim Brattan, Grey Bears Executive Director. “We’re very grateful to the staff and Board of the Valley Women’s Club (VWC) for helping to make it a seamless transition.”

Three current VWC employees have been retained so the site will continue to run with the same care and environmental standards. Grey Bears will also accept some items VWC is not currently accepting, including white, colored and shredded paper.

Grey Bears Resource Recovery Manager, Tina Forest, says she appreciates the County Public Works Department’s and VWC’s help during the operational change at Ben Lomond.

“Both of our organizations and the County appreciate that serving the recycling needs of San Lorenzo Valley customers is paramount,” Forest says. “Our goal is to make access to recycling easier and more efficient for customers and to expand what we can accept.”

County residents trust Grey Bears to be the best steward of whatever they drop off at one of their centers. And for good reason. Diverting as much material as possible from all waste streams – including distributing 2.3 million pounds of food to seniors each year and composting 30 tons of food scraps – has been Grey Bears overarching goal for more than four decades. From refurbishing computers, electronics, clothing and housewares, to processing Styrofoam, separated colored bottles, and Repair Cafés, reusing and repurposing materials that would otherwise go to waste will continue to be a core value.

For questions and more information contact Tina Forest, 831-479-1055 ext 235,