Why are recycling centers closing in California?

Treating the world’s trash

By Excelsior CaliforniaJune 1, 2017 at 11:55 a.m.After hundreds of people have brought their bags full of plastic bottles, an industrial gang roars in, pushing a production line with more than enough plastic bottles for recycling that would elicit an environmentalist smile.

With that volume, California’s three-decade recycling program must be considered a great success. But the CalRecycle system is in trouble and most agree it should be, too, recycled.

The bottle program operates with a structural deficit that some say was created by its own success. As more people and companies charged for containers, the cost of the program exceeded the amount consumers and the beverage industry paid into it.

“It’s the front line of resistance to waste,” said Eric Bryan, manager of Associated Students Inc, a Long Beach recycling center run by the Cal State Long Beach associate corps board of directors.

Recycling in usa

F. Castro / The SunLorenzo Cifuentes sells recyclable products at a recycling center in Sylmar. Recently, the largest chain of these businesses, RePlanet, closed 284 of its locations across the state.

Georgina and Javier Rosas begin unloading their car full of glass and plastic bottles, cans and even empty detergent containers. They dump it all into a big bucket and head to JD Recycling near the corner of Maclay Avenue and Foothill Boulevard in Sylmar.Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure.

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The couple knows this all too well. They never miss an opportunity to pick up a can or bottle that someone has left on the street, in the park or even at Javier’s job at a restaurant.It all adds up to a couple of trips each month to the recycling center, where they receive between $80-$90 in return for the load. “This helps me make up my car payment,” Javier says.

High rates of waste production

Collection center closures, a million-dollar shortfall and economic losses could end up discouraging consumers from recycling plastic containers, aluminum cans and glass in California.

He added that “in 2015 alone, beverage container redemption centers lost $20 million due to the state’s payment shortfall.” This is because the state’s Department of Resources, Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) fund faces a $70 million structural deficit.

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Alejandra Mercado, who is a resident of East Los Angeles and goes to recycling centers, expressed that if the place does not reimburse her between 5 and 10 cents for each bottle or can, which is what she pays in CRV (California Refund Value), she will stop collecting containers and bottles.

“The real hit came when prices plummeted due to the sharp drop in oil,” explained Mark Oldfield, spokesman for CalRecycle. Petroleum is the precursor to plastic, and recycled plastic competes with virgin plastic in the marketplace, affecting the price competitiveness of recycled products.

Reciclaje ambiental

Reciclar es algo más que depositar los materiales reciclables en la acera. Para que el reciclaje sea económicamente viable, también debemos comprar productos y envases con contenido reciclado. Cuando compramos productos reciclados, creamos un incentivo económico para que los materiales reciclables se recojan, fabriquen y comercialicen como nuevos productos.

Crear un mercado fuerte para los productos reciclados es clave para completar el proceso de reciclaje o “cerrar el ciclo”. Ustedes, como consumidores, cierran el círculo cuando compran productos fabricados con materiales reciclados o cuando apoyan a las empresas que utilizan materias primas recicladas en sus procesos de fabricación.

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Cuando vea flechas perseguidoras dentro de un círculo, significa que el producto o el envase ha sido fabricado con al menos algunos materiales que han sido reciclados. Esta marca se encuentra normalmente en productos de papel y cartón (por ejemplo, cajas de cereales o de zapatos). La marca puede incluir información adicional como el porcentaje (%) de material reciclado (situado en el centro de la marca o junto a ella) y el tipo de material reciclado. Busque un contenido reciclado del 20% o superior, esto suele ser la media para la mayoría de los productos (el 30% es la media para los productos de papel).