New California Recycling Rules Expected to Crack Down on Fraud

Recycling officials say the new change will discourage out-of-state residents from collecting money from the California Redemption Value

By Andrew Lopez
|  Monday, Jan 20, 2014  |  Updated 3:51 PM PDT
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New CalRecycle Rules Aim to Crack Down on Fraud

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A new restriction aims to crack down on out-of-state residents making money by redeeming large loads of recyclable containers in California.

The Jan. 14 change will allow recycling centers to protect the state-run program from fraud, according to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery.

“Unscrupulous individuals have taken advantage of our state’s hugely successful recycling program by bringing ineligible containers into California and redeeming them for money from the fund,” said CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen in a statement.

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Under the new rules, anyone transporting loads of empty plastic or aluminum bottles weighing 25 pounds or more, or loads of glass weighing 250 pounds or more, must document where they are being taken, according to a statement from CalRecycle.

Violators could face fines up to $1,000 for each offense.

The change comes on the heels of a new law implemented last November that forced recycling centers to stop redeeming non- California Redemption Value (CRV) materials like milk, wine, medical foods and distilled spirits, except for scrap value.

Prior to that, mixed loads of CRV and non-CRV material could be redeemed for a price only slightly lower than CRV.

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“By eliminating payments for non-CRV material, we also protect the beverage container recycling fund by ensuring CRV refunds go only toward those bottles and cans included in the program,” said Mortensen in a statement.

CRV pays consumers for beverages purchased from a retailer that are then redeemed at recycling centers. CRV-eligible containers can be identified by the phrase “CA CASH REFUND,” “CA CRV” or similar wording on the top of the container or the label, according to CalRecycle's website.

The new restriction applies to some 2,500 recycling centers statewide. 

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