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California’s Recycling Program Is So Successful It’s Going Broke

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6/2/2016

By Craig Boudreau on The Daily Caller

http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/23/californias-recycling-program-is-so-successful-its-going-broke/

California’s recycling program has been so popular it’s failing, as hundreds of recycling centers have been forced to close.

Hundreds of recycling centers have been forced to close due to falling aluminum prices on the commodities market as well as the popularity of California’s recycling program, reports The Sacramento Bee. The state’s recycling regulatory system and a collapse in global commodity prices are also making recycling uneconomical, according to experts familiar with such programs.

“California’s recycling system has been undermined by its own popularity.” Alexei Koseff of The Sacramento Bee wrote Thursday.

The way California incentivizes recycling is problematic, according to Teresa Bui of Californians Against Waste. She told TheDCNF the fact that 80 percent of Californians recycle is actually hurting the state’s effort to cut down on waste.

Citing falling aluminum commodity prices and lower reimbursement rates, California’s largest recycler, rePlanet, has closed 191 recycling centers and laid off 278 employees.

What isn’t recycled generally goes to funding government initiatives, like the recycling program. When more people recycle, less money is available for these programs and the less money recycling centers get for their business. So, California’s recycling program has been too successful in that sense.
“It is global market prices – over which the state nor the recycling industry have any real control – that is the most significant factor in the challenges facing the recycling industry here and elsewhere,” Mark Oldfield of CalRecycle told The Daily Caller News Foundation.


What isn’t recycled generally goes to funding government initiatives, like the recycling program. When more people recycle, less money is available for these programs and the less money recycling centers get for their business. So, California’s recycling program has been too successful in that sense.

“It is global market prices – over which the state nor the recycling industry have any real control – that is the most significant factor in the challenges facing the recycling industry here and elsewhere,” Mark Oldfield of CalRecycle told The Daily Caller News Foundation.


A list put together by WalletHub ranked the top recycling states, California finished in a tie for third with Arkansas.

There is also an issue of fraud, where cans and bottles from out-of-state find their way in and CA is forced to pay out money they never received in the first place from point of sale. Out-of-state cans and bottles are not accepted in CA recycling centers unless the shipper notifies and gets clearance from the state.

“In the past few years, working with the CA Department of Justice and others, anti-fraud efforts have ramped up and there have been numerous arrests.” Oldfield said. While Oldfield does agree fraud is an issue, he also says that it is a “separate issue from the market forces that led to the rePlanet closures.”

The L.A. Times ran a piece in 2012 in which semi-trailers full of recyclables have been making their way into California via Arizona and Nevada.

“The illicit trade is draining the state’s $1.1-billion recycling fund. Government officials recently estimated the fraud at $40 million a year, and an industry expert said it could exceed $200 million.” according to Jessica Garrison’s L.A. Times article.

CalRecycle published a piece in April about a commercial truck having been caught trying to ship an entire trailer of out-of-state recyclables from Nevada, noting that this was the second time in a matter of months this particular company tried to do such. The truck was carrying $15,464 of recyclable materials.

California’s recycling program has been so popular it’s failing, as hundreds of recycling centers have been forced to close.

Hundreds of recycling centers have been forced to close due to falling aluminum prices on the commodities market as well as the popularity of California’s recycling program, reports The Sacramento Bee. The state’s recycling regulatory system and a collapse in global commodity prices are also making recycling uneconomical, according to experts familiar with such programs.

“California’s recycling system has been undermined by its own popularity.” Alexei Koseff of The Sacramento Bee wrote Thursday.

The way California incentivizes recycling is problematic, according to Teresa Bui of Californians Against Waste. She told TheDCNF the fact that 80 percent of Californians recycle is actually hurting the state’s effort to cut down on waste.

Citing falling aluminum commodity prices and lower reimbursement rates, California’s largest recycler, rePlanet, has closed 191 recycling centers and laid off 278 employees.

A list put together by WalletHub ranked the top recycling states, California finished in a tie for third with Arkansas.

There is also an issue of fraud, where cans and bottles from out-of-state find their way in and CA is forced to pay out money they never received in the first place from point of sale. Out-of-state cans and bottles are not accepted in CA recycling centers unless the shipper notifies and gets clearance from the state.

“In the past few years, working with the CA Department of Justice and others, anti-fraud efforts have ramped up and there have been numerous arrests.” Oldfield said. While Oldfield does agree fraud is an issue, he also says that it is a “separate issue from the market forces that led to the rePlanet closures.”

The L.A. Times ran a piece in 2012 in which semi-trailers full of recyclables have been making their way into California via Arizona and Nevada.

“The illicit trade is draining the state’s $1.1-billion recycling fund. Government officials recently estimated the fraud at $40 million a year, and an industry expert said it could exceed $200 million.” according to Jessica Garrison’s L.A. Times article.

CalRecycle published a piece in April about a commercial truck having been caught trying to ship an entire trailer of out-of-state recyclables from Nevada, noting that this was the second time in a matter of months this particular company tried to do such. The truck was carrying $15,464 of recyclable materials.