In California, residents who take the initiative to recycle their cans, bottles and plastics have the opportunity to receive a five- to 10-cent refund for their deposit, but new laws are limiting the number of items that can be salvaged for the redemption value.
The new law was implemented on January 1, 2014, and has drawn criticisms from many residents who take advantage of the recycling project to pay off some debts, the Los Angeles Times reported.
On top of the fact that some containers like milk jugs and liquor bottles can now only be redeemed for their scrap value, people are struggling to make the most out of the $1.1 billion beverage recycling fund.
One recycler, Richard Stevens is a homeless man who lives on Skid Row. Prior to the new law, he would make $20 after a four-hour haul, but now his search only nets him $8 to $10.
“I don’t go to the missions, I don’t wait on lines and I don’t beg,” he told the Times. “I work for mine.”
CalRecycle spokesman Mark Oldfield said that this decision to reduce the maximum number or recycles from 500 pounds per month to 100 was largely due to the fact that neighboring states like Arizona, Nevada, even Mexico would make the trek to the Golden State to take advantage of these redemption values, the Fresno Bee explained. Now, those who fail to abide by these new regulations may be subjected to a $1,000 fine.
“I don’t know why they waited so long to do this,” Clovis Recycle general manager Tice Ferguson said to the news source.
Even if they can’t get the redemption rate out of it, scrap metal in California is about $1.70 per pound, while most states pay out about $1 per pound. Currently, the beverage fund for this service is facing a $100 million deficit, so limiting the number of recyclables per month is expected to close the gap to about $3.5 to $8 million in the coming years.
These restrictions are not intended to deter Californians’ green recycling habits, but rather to keep more of the resources within state lines. On average, California loses about $40 million per year from container fraud. Initiatives to limit alleged recycling fraud will also begin at the state’s borders, where recycling trucks with out-of-state license plates will be subjected for inspection.
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