California's Recycling Rate Drops Following Closures of More Than 500 Recycling Centers

Beverage container recycling rates in California have fallen below 80 percent for the first time since 2008, according to new data released last week by CalRecycle, the state’s recycling agency. The reduced recycling rate means that two million additional containers are littered or landfilled every day, including more than one million plastic bottles. 


The agency’s annual report shows that 79.8 percent of empty beverage containers were recycled in 2016, down from 81 percent in 2015. Recycling rates have equaled or exceeded 80 percent since 2009. 

The drop in recycling rates comes in the wake of reduced program payments for recycling operations and the closing of more than 560 recycling centers in the state in the last 15 months. 

The loss of recycling centers has hit rural areas especially hard. For consumers who try to supplement family income by redeeming containers, the loss of buyback recycling locations has reduced total redemption pay-back by more than $3 million per month. 

In an April report to the Legislature, California’s Legislative Analyst’s office attributed the closures to a decline in scrap prices and “program payments that do not sufficiently cover recycler costs”. 

Despite a $250 million fund surplus, California’s recycling operations are being short changed, resulting in closed centers and declining recycling rates. Consumers and recycling program operators need the Governor and Legislature to come together in this budget and fix what’s been broken.

The report indicates beverage container sales of just over 23.1 billion, with 18.4 billion containers recycled. 

As recently as 2013, the California Bottle Bill had an 85 percent recycling rate, diverting more than one million tons of plastic, glass and metal, and contributing thousands of jobs and more than $2 billion to the state’s economy, while delivering the equivalent of 1.45 million tons of reduced carbon dioxide emissions. 

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}