Brooklyn Daily gets action: ‘Disgusting’ recycling center closes

The trash path: Can collecters wheel their finds down E. 15th Street to an illegal recycling center, which locals say is ruining businesses and lowering home values due to its unsanitary conditions.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

The owner of a controversial E. 15th Street recycling center that nearby residents and merchants said was attracting roaches and mice, but driving shoppers away, closed up his shop following this paper’s report on his center’s squalid conditions.

The owner of Mainstream Recycling Group, which had received numerous violations for operating without a license between avenues U and V, said last week that he shut down operations after our story appeared.

“We agreed with Brooklyn Daily,” said the owner, who refused to give his name. “Our neighbors don’t like us and we want to be courteous.”

Residents living near the recycling center cheered the owner’s decision.

“The whole block is ecstatic about it,” said Gus Savaros, an E. 15th Street resident since 1939 who renamed his street “the Ho Chi Minh trail” after witnessing the constant parade of bottle and can collectors making their way to the recycling center.

Merchants say that business is booming now the recycling center has closed its doors.

“What a difference,” said Bob Kane, who owns an eye glass shop next door. “I can leave my door open and there’s no noise all day long.”

The recycling center opened in April, but was slapped with more than $1,000 in fines for failing to file for the necessary paperwork with the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Yet the Mainstream Recycling Group — which critics say was turning a pretty profit from redeeming recycled bottles and cans — kept paying its fines, leaving the state powerless to impose stiffer penalties, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation Police Captain Francisco Lopez.

“It’s like parking a car illegally,” Lopez explained. “As long as you keep paying the tickets, you’re fine.”

Yet, after our article came out highlighting complaints against the E. 15th Street recycling center, Mainstream Recycling Group’s owner met with state officials and signed an agreement promising not to reopen without the proper permits.

But if he does open again, he won’t be doing it E. 15th Street, the businessman said.

“Probably no,” he said when asked he was going to open again in the same spot.

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