David Nanney of Recology's Recycle Central helped rescue $1,600 in BART tickets from the landfill.
A recycling supervisor's commute has spawned a citywide effort that will turn unused BART tickets into cash for two San Francisco charities.
David Nanney, operations supervisor for Recology's Recycle Central, has commuted by BART and Muni to his job at Pier 96 for years. Like many BART riders, especially before the advent of Clipper cards, he collected a large pile of tickets with 5, 10, 15 cents left. One morning at a coffee shop, he spotted a jar for BART's little-known Tiny Tickets program, which encourages people to donate the low-value fare cards, whose value is added up and given to a collection of charities.
Nanney donated his tickets, then started spotting the occasional white-and-blue ticket floating through the collection of conveyor belts and filters that separate recycling. In November, he enlisted the help of recycling sorters, who started snatching the lightweight tickets out of the steadily flowing stream of debris, and putting them in a pile.
KTVU Channel Two News at Six News Report about the new Tiny Tickets program started by Recology SF.
"The pile started getting bigger and bigger," he said, so they set up special collection boxes. And in just four months, they rescued $1,600 worth of tickets that had been destined for the landfill. Workers chose to donate the proceeds to the San Francisco Food Bank.
Encouraged by how quickly those little tickets piled up, Recology officials have decided to expand the program by encouraging people with low-value BART tickets to tape them to the blue containers where recyclables are placed. Collection crews will gather the tickets, then place them in a donation box in the Recology office.
Recology will turn in the fare cards to BART's Tiny Tickets program, which will direct the proceeds to the Food Bank as well as Friends of the Urban Forest, which encourages San Franciscans to care for and plant trees.
But won't scavengers, who already root through the blue bins in search of bottles and cans, take the tickets?
"We're not that concerned," said Paul Giusti, Recology's community and government affairs manager. "Folks are after bottles and cans, and there won't be as many tiny tickets. I don't think it would be worth someone's while to collect them."
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