How California's redemption center closures affect grocery stores, transfer stations
- In the state of California, grocery stores that make more than $2 million in annual sales must have a nearby redemption center for recycling disposal, an in-store recycling redemption option, or pay a $100 daily fine, according to The Union. However, since California closed 269 redemption centers this year, many grocery stores across the state have been left without recycling options—therefore eliminating the fines.
- The closure of redemption centers has also created longer lines at transfer stations, such as the McCourtney Road Transfer Station in Nevada County. However improving these long lines will take months, if not years, as reported in The Union.
- These issues are also taking a toll on service companies such as Waste Management, seen as "responsible" for operating and maintaining buyback centers in Nevada County. A spokeswoman for Waste Management noted to The Union that the company is complying with the county's contract terms.
The reasoning behind the closure of hundreds of redemption centers is believed to be an outdated payment system based on old commodities pricing, according to a report from the Container Recycling Institute (CRI). That report also notes that California’s 2,100 certified beverage container recycling centers took a $20 million hit in 2015 due to reduced processing payments from the state.
"The commodities side of the business has dropped," explained Ben Painter, manager of the Nevada City SPD Market grocery store, to The Union. He said that if collection companies are unwilling to take recyclables to buyback centers, it leaves the retailer without any motivation or resources to do it.
Re-evaluating payments at redemption centers that are still open is crucial moving forward, according to CRI. The Institute suggests correlating payments with real-time price tracking, as well as providing structural reform.
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