California’s recycling problem

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – California recycling program is leaking money, hundreds of millions of dollars. The program pays Californians to turn in their used bottles and cans.

The state does not want cans and bottles to end up in a landfill, so it will pay 5-cents to sell it to a recycling center.

Multiply that by hundreds of millions of cans and bottles from outside the state, and you begin to understand why lawmakers are saying California needs to recycle it recycling program.

It was full of good intentions, but the 1986 ballot initiative that created big incentives for California consumers to recycle those plastic bottles and aluminum cans, now has a problem.

A nickel for every small container, a dime for every large one.

No one, apparently, foresaw that those big incentives would end up creating big opportunities to steal hundreds of millions from the state.

Brian Jones of Santee is a recycler.

He is also a Republican member of the California Assembly who, his colleagues in Sacramento, has to clean up a multi-million-dollar mess.

The combination of high California recycling value and low oversight seems to have created a crime of opportunity.

Poacher from Nevada, Arizona and other neighbor states are hauling truck and trailer loads into the golden state and selling them to recycling facilities.

And in-state, too many recycling centers are charging the state multiple times for the same empty containers. Emptying California’s $1.1 trillion recycling fund.

The state auditor’s report recommends three fixes:

Don’t pay me a nickel for a can.

Improve fraud prevention.

Let the department of equalization, the office that collects taxes and child support, collect money for cans.

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