Criminals are using out of state containers to steal from California’s recycling fund.
People are hauling in cans and bottles illegally to pass them off as California containers to get the California Redemption Value (CRV) which is five cents. New laws have recently been put in place to end the fraud, but Jim Smith, the CEO of Big Foot Recycling in Anderson says it might be too late.
Each year the California recycling fund takes in about $1.1 billion paid for by customers who buy beverages in state. Illegal redemption costs the fund about $50 million annually.
“Very large threat to the recycling efforts in California,” says Jim Smith.
The fraudulent claims hurt everyone from the recycling companies like Big Foot Recycling to the consumers who paid the CRV.
“The program is running out of money, it is paying out more than it is taking in,” says Smith.
California is taking action, several laws have been passed to curb this fraud. One measure is limiting the weight of aluminum cans or plastic bottles to 100 pounds a day. They hope this will discourage criminals who were trucking in large amounts. However, if the new laws don’t halt the unlawful activity, recycling centers could start to close.
“Worked hard for 28 years to make this a success and this would be disappointing to us if it went down,” says Smith.
Plus, consumers would have fewer options to recycle.
“The success of the California program revolves around the convenience. If you take that away the recycling will drop then you have cans along the highways and byways,” says Smith.
Smith believes he could know as soon as May if the California recycling program will be adequately funded.