Governor Newsom Signs Legislation to Support Grey Bears Recycling Facility that Funds Healthy Food Program for Seniors

Contact: Richard Stapler


SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Senate Bill 895, authored by State Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz). SB 895 ensures Grey Bears, a nonprofit recycling facility in Santa Cruz, has access to funds necessary to defray operating and infrastructure costs. With the passage of SB 895, Grey Bears can now meet the needs of the currently underserved communities of Santa Cruz, Capitola, and unincorporated mid-Santa Cruz County.

“California is a global leader in curbing plastic pollution and protecting our environment, so thank you to Governor Newsom for signing SB 895 into law,” said Laird. “People in Santa Cruz residents won’t have to drive 30+ miles round-trip to a certified buyback recycling center, plus thousands of seniors will continue to be supported through their healthy food deliveries.”

Grey Bears has served Santa Cruz County residents for over 40 years, stepping up to provide critical recycling services and operation of a thrift store to serve residents of Santa Cruz County. They divert thousands of tons of material from landfills to conserve resources, and use proceeds to provide fresh, healthy food to seniors in the region.

Co-Author of Senate Bill 895 Assemblymember Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) notes, “The lack of accessible buyback recycling facilities in Santa Cruz affects our underserved communities the most. SB 895 is a welcome relief to many of our constituents, who will no longer have to expend their valuable time and energy to exchange their beverage containers. I appreciate Governor Newsom recognizing the importance of this issue and signing the bill into law.”

According to Grey Bears Executive Director, Tim Brattan, recycling centers provide the cleanest material to support California's circular economy. "We want to thank Senator Laird for this legislation that creates opportunities for nonprofits like Grey Bears to open more convenient redemption locations so residents can get their beverage container deposits back. Our central Chanticleer CRV recycling location will increase the redemption rate while also reducing vehicle miles traveled for local recyclers, and beverage container litter that ends up in our waterways and ocean."

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Salinas), co-author of the bill expressed, “I am grateful to Senator Laird for championing SB 895 and to Governor Newsom for adding his signature and support. This important new law will ensure more underserved communities throughout California, including in Santa Cruz County, have access to buyback recycling and landfill diversion programs.”

Senate Bill 895 will take effect January 1, 2023.



Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties, the majority of Monterey County, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.